Reporting and Resources for Victims
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly condemns sexual abuse in all its forms. The Bishops of Canada regret profoundly what offending Bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and laity have inflicted on victims-survivors, as well as its effects. The Bishops of Canada wish to reach out and accompany victims-survivors along a path which restores justice and promotes healing, and they encourage anyone who has been abused by Church representatives to come forward to the appropriate authorities, as indicated below.
How to Report Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop
Disclosing an experience of sexual abuse can be very unsettling and deeply painful; however, it can also be an important step toward healing and justice for victims-survivors, and is necessary for the Church in its commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency.
Sexual abuse or other sexual misconduct by a Bishop, or whose actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil investigations or canonical investigations regarding sexual abuse, can be reported to Church authorities using the Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop. This reporting system uses a confidential and secure platform designed by ClearView, an independent professional ethics firm based in Canada, to transmit your report to the proper Church authorities, who in turn will act as required by church and civil law.
Make your report by phone via this Canada-wide 24-hour toll-free number operated by a bilingual ClearView agent. All ClearView agents are trained to provide a verbatim account of your report (1-866-892-3737).
You may also wish to contact civil authorities and are required to do so if a minor is at risk as per the laws of each Canadian province and territory. See Provincial and territorial child protection legislation and policy (2018) by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Table 6 “Duty to Report”.
If you are concerned about any other kind of misconduct by a Bishop, or if your report concerns sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, consecrated person (Brother or Sister), or officially mandated pastoral personnel, please contact the diocese/eparchy where the incident occurred.
If your report concerns the current or a previous Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, contact your diocese/eparchy for assistance in reporting the incident to the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.
The Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop was established by the Bishops of Canada in response to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Vos estis lux mundi (You are the light of the World). It represents another step in the Bishops’ ongoing commitment to responsible ministry and the protection of minors and vulnerable persons.
How to submit your report Whether online or over the phone, this infographic describes the steps when submitting a report.
How to Report Sexual Abuse by Clergy, Religious, or Lay Pastoral Agents
To report to the Bishop or his delegate sexual abuse committed by clergy (Priest or Deacon) or by an officially mandated lay pastoral agent, please contact the diocese/eparchy in which the abuse occurred.
To report sexual abuse by a “religious” (i.e., a member of an institute of consecrated life, whether a Priest, Deacon, Brother or Sister) to his or her Superior, please contact the institute concerned.
You always have the right to contact your local police and/or child protection service, and are legally required to do so if a minor is in danger. Details concerning the legal obligation in Canada to report any instance in which the safety of a minor is threatened by sexual or any other kind of abuse or neglect are outlined by the Public Health Agency of Canada according to the statutes of each province and territory. See Provincial and Territorial Child Protection Legislation and Policy 2018, Table 6 “Duty to Report.”
How to Access Support and Assistance Services
Victims-Survivors seeking support and assistance services may wish to consult the Directory of Services for Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. The Directory provides names and contact information of agencies by province and territory. The latest version, dated 2009, was prepared by National Clearinghouse on Family Violence and was published in Ottawa by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Numerous other resources are listed by topic in the CCCB’s current safeguarding document, Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse, pages 102-126.