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Standards for Catholic Institutes

The Praesidium Methodology

Welcome to the Praesidium Accreditation Process, a comprehensive program designed specifically with organizations in mind. We understand the importance of creating safe and secure environments, and our accreditation process is here to support you every step of the way.

Our Standards

The initial development of Praesidium’s Accreditation Standards for Catholic Religious Institutes© was in direct response to the following statement of the August 2002 Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) assembly:

“We believe that in most instances over this last decade, as we have learned more about the tragic consequences of sexual abuse, we have acted responsibly in dealing with allegations. But, we have also heard the clear call to more accountability and transparency in how we as leaders of men religious deal with the protection of children from sexual abuse by members of our institutes and how we handle allegations of sexual abuse and follow-up outreach to victims and supervision of our members charged with sexual abuse.”

About Standards

There are a total of 20 standards which are designed for any Catholic Religious Institute or Society of Apostolic Life. Each Standard has requirements that must be implemented to meet the Standard.

The Standards are revised every four years. Feedback is incorporated from a number of sources: Praesidium’s field experience in assessing more than 100 Religious congregations worldwide and its ongoing work with numerous secular youth-serving organizations; the experiences of Major Superiors; insight from Praesidium’s Advisory Council and Standards Advisory Panel; the viewpoint of civil and canon lawyers; perspective from Review Board members; and research from experts in various fields (psychology, social work and law). In every review, Praesidium seeks for the Standards to further clarify the requirements, reflect developments in Church policy, and incorporate advancements in youth-serving industry standards as a whole. Following their original publication in 2004, the Standards were updated in 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020.

The 2020 Standards are clustered into four key areas:

  • Standards for Responding to Survivors- These standards ensure that individuals who report abuse to an Institute are received pastorally and compassionately.
  • Standards for Prevention- These standards evaluate items such as leadership, transparency, how new members are screened, relevant educational programs for initial and ongoing formation, systems of support and accountability to ensure Members’ well-being, and how the Institute manages internal reports of concerns about boundary violations.
  • Standards for Responding to Allegations- These standards evaluate policies and procedures in areas such as reporting requirements, investigations, and the role of external review boards.
  • Standards for Supervision- These standards evaluate the effectiveness of supervision for any Members against whom an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has been established.

Ready to get started? To begin the accreditation process, please submit a contact form.