Since 1996, the Church has processes in place across Australia that are intended to respond pastorally to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia. In most of Australia, this is an approach known as Towards Healing (Contact details are provided below).
Towards Healing is conducted nationally by the Church’s National Committee for Professional Standards, with Professional Standards Offices and reference groups established for each state (The contact number in Victoria is 1800 816 030). The Bishop of each Diocese has a responsibility for working with the state Professional Standards Office and is supported by a diocesan Professional Standards Committee.
The Guide, Towards Healing, is available from the National Committee for Professional Standards that contains the principles that must form the basis of the Church’s response to complaints of abuse and the procedures to be followed in responding to individual complaints.
The National Committee for Professional Standards also has available publications available to support Church organisations in focusing on ensuring appropriate personnel, guidelines, and processes are in place and enacted. These are:
• Integrity in Ministry is a resource for those preparing for ministry in the Catholic Church and as a code of conduct and guide for reflection for those already in ministry.
• Integrity in the Service of the Church is a resource document of principles and standards for lay workers and volunteers in the Catholic Church of Australia. Both these documents are used by personnel in the Diocese of Ballarat.
The Church is seeking to cooperate fully with the current Royal Commission and has established the Truth, Justice and Healing Council to represent the whole Catholic Church in Australia in working with the Royal Commission, and in assisting the Church deal with the tragic legacy of child sexual abuse and helping victims and survivors to be heard and supported.
Any person with a complaint of past abuse should contact the Assistant Director: School Operations and/or Diocesan Office to seek information on Towards Healing.
Further information is available as follows: