SafeNet is an all-volunteer group in service to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Its focus remains fixed on the entire healing process for everyone impacted by the abuse scandal. SafeNet receives no funds or financial assistance from any individual, organization or religious institution.
SafeNet work includes outreach to survivors, their families, friends, former classmates of St. Anthony's Seminary, and former members of The Santa Barbara Boys Choir. It has also been extended to the friars, the offenders, the geater Santa Barbara community, parishes, various dioceses, cardinals, bishops, priests, legal representatives on both sides and the media, in an effort to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of the crisis.
SafeNet began in March, 2003, as an all-volunteer group after a small number of clergy abuse survivors of St. Anthony Seminary, a Catholic vocational high school administered by the Franciscan religious order in Santa Barbara, California, gathered for a spiritual healing retreat in Pacific Grove, California, sponsored by the Franciscans. Out of that gathering two survivors, Paul Fericano and John McCord, created SafeNet.
In 2008, SafeNet became a principal service program incorporated as a California nonprofit under Instruments of Peace, and received federal tax exempt status. In 2016, Instruments of Peace was dissolved and SafeNet reverted to its original all-volunteer status.
Since its very beginnings, SafeNet has supported healing on multiple levels, including face to face meetings with church leaders and offenders, discussions, forums, retreats, therapy, legal settlements and issues of restorative justice. It has helped individuals come together and listen to one another in honest and safe environments, both privately and in groups. SafeNet has a long and proud history of working with individuals and church authorities under the radar to miminize the risk of more suffering.
SafeNet respects and supports the need for each person to do whatever is necessary to ensure one's safety and well being. It fully acknowledges that each of us chooses our own path to healing.