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Safe Environment and Victims Assistance

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Safe Environment and Victims Assistance

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“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Matthew 19:14

The offices of Safe Environment and Victims Assistance are designed to work closely together. Victims Assistance responds to those who have been sexually abused by priests or religious; while Safe Environment works to ensure the safety of our diocesan parish, and school programs through our Diocesan Code of Conduct Involving Interactions with Minors.

Ministering to children and young people is the heart of what Jesus calls His people to do. The mission of our Safe Environment Project is to assist the Church in creating a safe haven for children, young people and vulnerable adults. The risk of child abuse is greatly reduced by breaking the silence about abuse, especially sexual abuse. Breaking the silence is a critical first step to begin the process of education, prevention and healing.

We are working with all employees and volunteers of the Oakland Diocese, civil authorities, and various organizations in our community to create the safest possible environment for every person on every Diocesan site.

Our Victims Assistance Ministry offers a variety of avenues for victims and family members to report their experiences to our Office of Victim Assistance and to be welcomed, to receive pastoral care, and to learn about and access much-needed services. Diocesan staff serving in the Office of Victim Assistance believe that individuals and communities are best served through a prompt response to requests for help, respectful listening, attention to their needs, and services to help them in the healing process.

Safe Environment Project

Staff Contacts
Diana Bitz, Project Coordinator
(510) 267-8315

Carmen Alvarez, Admin. Asst. Livescan
(510) 267 - 8343

Megan McLeod, Administrative Support

Penny Pendola, Ed.D, Department Director
(510) 267-8359

Anyone wishing to report any allegation of sexual misconduct by any Clergy or Diocesan employee should contact the local authority, i.e. Police or Sheriff Department, and also the  Chancellor/Victims Assistance Coordinator of the Diocese:

Rev. Robert M. Herbst, OFM Conv
Interim Victims Assistance Coordinator

Diocese of Oakland
2121 Harrison St., Suite 100
Oakland, California  94612-3778
(510) 267-8334

Or contact a survivor at:

Survivor Advocacy
(510) 267-8373

Survivor Advocacy

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