The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is pursuing the work it began nearly 20 years ago on sexual abuse by publishing Orientations for diocesan sexual abuse protocols.
The document is intended to assist Catholic dioceses in Canada in updating their diocesan protocols for the prevention of sexual abuse and for their pastoral response to complaints about possible sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other personnel under diocesan responsibility.
By publishing the Orientations, the CCCB is supporting the work of the Bishops who continue to ensure appropriate measures in their respective dioceses, so children can be in a safe pastoral environment.
The Orientations repeat, clarify and reinforce the recommendations in From Pain to Hope which has been an indispensable reference since its publication in 1992 by the Catholic Bishops of Canada.
The Orientations are the result of extensive consultations – including with victims – and a long, though necessary and fruitful reflection and analysis. Lay experts were also consulted, including specialists in child psychology and others working with young adults and children on a regular basis. The expertise of dioceses, religious organizations and other institutions such as community groups, schools, and sports clubs was also sought out so their experiences as well as research helped to shape the document being made public today.
“These new orientations add to the wide array of resources which the dioceses already have to help improve their diocesan protocols for sexual abuse. The priority is to prevent abuse of any kind, respond to complaints, offer full collaboration with civil authorities, and reduce the risk of sexual abuse,” stated Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg and President of the CCCB.
Because each diocesan Bishop is autonomous, each is responsible for adopting a diocesan protocol, as well as initiating, supporting and maintaining the means for preventing sexual abuse, and also for responding to abuse complaints in the diocese.