Towards Healing is a Church protocol for dealing with complaints of abuse by clergy, religious and other employees (paid and non-paid) of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Ballarat. Towards Healing was initiated by the Dioceses of Australia in 1996. Copies of the protocol are available here.
A diocesan advisory committee was also formed to assist with these matters. The diocesan Towards Healing Working Group deals with education and prevention (as outlined in Towards Healing), advises the Bishop on these matters, and ensures the recruitment and presence of suitably trained personnel to staff Towards Healing.
For details of how to contact Towards Healing see below.
The Diocese of Ballarat
In this Diocese, the Bishop has acknowledged with deep regret that a number of people have abused children, adolescents and adults who have been in their pastoral care.
Any attempt to sexualize a pastoral relationship is a breach of trust, an abuse of authority, and professional misconduct. Any form of sexual behaviour with a minor or adolescent is always sexual abuse.
It is both immoral and criminal. Clergy, members of religious orders, and others who work in the name of the Church are in a special position of trust and authority in relation to those who are in their pastoral care. For example; parishioners, people seeking advice, the sick, people with disability, students at schools.
Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of sexual abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia have been set out in the booklet Towards Healing. This process also applies to complaints of physical and emotional abuse.
How do I make a complaint?
RING THE Towards Healing HELP LINE – ph: 1800 816 030 (free call)
- Ring and say you wish to make a complaint. You will be put in touch with a Contact Person living in your part of the State.
- The Contact Person will arrange a meeting at a location to suit you. The Contact Person will document your complaint.
You can ring the Help Line number if you wish to:
- Talk in confidence about what happened, and about your current situation.
- Make an official complaint which will be registered and investigated using the Towards Healing Process.
- Ask in confidence for assistance and support (e.g. counselling)
Professional Standards Resource Group (Victoria)
PO Box 6186
Mildura West 3500
Email: Towards Healing
IF YOU WISH YOU CAN CONTACT THE POLICE AT ANY TIME