Focus Group:

Supporting Abuse Victims/Survivors and Their Families

This Focus Group’s attention is specifically directed to our brothers and sisters who have suffered traumatic abuse by priests, brothers and lay officials of the Church. We recognize survivors’ family members and all those affected by years of this trauma. We are seeking to do the following:

  • Advocating that the Church will support (financially and in its promotion) independent healing and therapeutic systems for survivors without meaningless external constraints, thereby allowing appropriate professionals to assess and determine therapeutic pathways for each individual survivor.
  • Recognizing that family members of survivors, who often have been providing the initial and most direct care to survivors through the years, have also suffered.  They too must be embraced due to the overall pain, anxiety, anger, and possible guilt that these traumas may have caused them.
  • Advocating for establishment of support structures for survivors and family members that include a physical, emotional and spiritual presence.
  • Exploring healing models (e.g., Restorative Justice Model) and promoting implementation of these throughout the diocese and within parishes where appropriate.
  • Understanding that all laity and parishioners have been affected by the sexual abuse crises, and supporting parishes and faith communities, and then striving to instill healing and empathic environments where each parishioner’s voice can be heard and needs addressed.
  • Understanding that self-awareness and self-education related to this topic of sexual abuse and the pathway for healing is critical for promoting appropriate systems of support. This awareness includes individual self-learning, at the parish level, and throughout the diocese.

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