Safe Church

The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Rhode Island recognize the potential for harm when a priest, lay employee or volunteer engages in sexual exploitation, harassment or abuse in one of our churches or institutions. Thus, we, like most Episcopal dioceses, offer training and resources that include suggestions for safe ways of interacting with children, youth and adults in the church.

We also provide “Intake Officers” who are trained to receive any allegations or concerns. Email to ask for a conversation with one of the Intake Officers.

Safe Church Training

Safe Church Training Safe Church Trainingis a required certification program for clergy, all licensed lay ministers including Licensed Eucharistic Visitors, vestry/bishop’s committee members, employees, and those who volunteer in programs for children and youth. This training is also recommended for all lay people in leadership positions. The program is grounded in our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being. The clergy and vestries of each individual church are responsible for oversight of their parishioners and staff who need to take the training.  

Contact your parish priest or parish administrator for access to the training or access the training using the steps below. Safe Church training is offered primarily as an online program.  In-person trainings are scheduled occasionally at locations around the diocese. Watch for notices in the diocesan e-newsletter or speak to diocesan administrator Mary Ann Mello to learn when the next in-person training will be held. 


There are SIX modules required for Initial Basic Training:
note: please scroll through the modules to find the following

  1. Meet Sam
  2. It Happened to Me
  3. Keeping your Church Safe
  4. Safeguarding God’s People: Preventing Sexual Exploitation in Communities Faith – For Congregations
  5. Social Media
  6. “Know Your Policies…the Episcopal Church Model Policy for Protection of Vulnerable Adults [or Children and Youth]” (ENG)

There are FOUR modules required for Refresher Training:
(Basic Safe Church Training expires after three years. To update your training to keep in compliance, take the courses below)

  1. Abuse Prevention Refresher
  2. Recognizing Abuse and Exploitation in Elder Serving Programs
  3. Social Media
  4. Your Policies
  • Everyone working as a church volunteer with children or in a leadership position must take the online training. Church staff must also complete the online training. Clergy are certified by in person training by the Diocese of Rhode Island every three years.
  • Lay Eucharistic Visitors must have in-person training.  Read more about it here
  • Re-certification is required every three years


To start your online training:

Step 1: Use this information to enroll and begin your online training:
1. Go to
2. Fill in your contact information including First Name, Last Name, Email Address, and desired Password.
3. Enter the appropriate registration code for your organization. Find your code HERE
4. Click Validate to confirm registration code. (if you do not see your church, enter your church’s name in the search bar)
5. Click the checkbox to agree to the Terms & Conditions.
6. Click Redeem.
7. Write down your user login and password for future reference.
8. Answer the Registration Questions about your status and role within the organization.
9. Click Save & Continue.
10. To begin taking training immediately, scroll down and click a course to start the content.

Step 2: Use this information to log in:
1. Go to log in page
2. Enter your login and password.
3. Click LOGIN button.
4. On the next page, scroll down the page a bit until you see the courses listed.
5. Click the title of the course to open and view it.

***Praesidium Academy will be updating their website on July 14, 2021 at 11am***

If you are already a learner, you should have received and email from Praesidium Academy asking you to update your login information. If you have not received an email to update your information or need help please call:

Praesidium Support:

Monday – Friday: 8AM-5PM CST
(800) 743-6354

If you have received an email and have updated your information you should be able to logon at

If you need information call Mary Ann Mello, Diocesan Administrator, at 401-274-4500 ext. 225


*The Safe Church Self Audit due date has been changed to December 31, 2021 at the recommendation of the Bishop and with the approval of Diocesan Council.  The deadline was extended to allow churches flexibility while they are reopening this summer.

Mandated Reporting

All persons in Rhode Island are required by law (RIGL 40-11-3) to report known or suspected
cases of child abuse and/or neglect to the Department within 24 hours of becoming aware of such
abuse/neglect. Reports of abuse and neglect originate from several sources including the public,
courts, hospitals, police departments, parents, and relatives as well as other sources.

Child Protective Service-Rhode Island

CPS operates 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Investigators receive and screen reports of
suspected abuse and neglect on the Department’s hotline 1-800-RI-CHILD (1-800-742-4453)
and conduct associated investigations, as needed.

Abuse and Elder Law Information Resources

Rhode Island law requires any person who has reasonable cause to believe that an elderly
person has been abused to report it to the Office of Healthy Aging (OHA). Failure to
report abuse of a person 60 or older can result in a fine of up to $1,000. Report suspicion
of Elder Abuse and Self Neglect to OHA 401-462-0555.
If a Senior needs help getting out of an abusive home contact the Saint Elizabeth’ s Haven
for Elder Justice Program 401-739-2844 x36

Reporting an incident of misconduct

To report an incident of misconduct by a lay volunteer or church employee in a parish, in addition to contacting any relevant civil authorities, please contact the priest of the parish.

To report an allegation of  misconduct by a clergy person, in addition to contacting any relevant civil authorities (if this constitutes an illegal action), please contact either of the diocesan Intake Officers, who are responsible for beginning the Church’s own investigation process, or contact the Canon to the Ordinary.

Email to ask for a conversation with one of the Intake Officers.

You may also contact The Rev. Canon Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew, Canon to the Ordinary at or call 401-274-4500 or 401-480-8651 (cell). She serves as the Case Manager and will refer your case to one of the Intake Officers.