Restorative Journeying with Survivors of Abuse within the Catholic Church


"Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure
the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults."

Pope Francis, Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the People of God, 20 August 2018


Pathways Victoria would firstly like to acknowledge the lived experience of survivors, their families and communities who have been impacted by abuse within the Catholic Church.


The Catholic Church and religious institutions in Victoria are committed to a safe environment for all children and vulnerable persons with safeguarding embedded within its culture and operations. Clergy, employees and volunteers are committed to upholding the right to safety of all persons, and participating in a creating a culture of safety supported by policies, practices and procedures that strive to prevent abuse in the first instance and to respond appropriately and effectively if abuse does occur.  


Within the Catholic Church and participating religious institutions in Victoria there are currently two models that are available to respond to complaints of historic abuse: Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response. Nationally, there is also now the National Redress Scheme and civil litigation for those who seek compensation to redress past abuse. 

In light of our contemporary understanding of the impact of abuse and trauma, the Catholic Church and participating religious institutions in Victoria have committed to the development of a consistent and state wide model of responding to complaints. The new approach, called Pathways Victoria, will implement a set of compassionate, just and appropriately resourced professional standards processes based on the National Response Protocol. It will incorporate features from Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response, effectively bringing their processes to a conclusion and providing a new process to investigate complaints and compensate and care for victims. Those who currently receive supports through Carelink will continue to do so. The Pathways Victoria model will offer an alternative to existing mechanisms such as the National Redress Scheme and civil litigation for those who may wish to engage in a pastoral response. 

It is the hope that a sense of grace will be the light that shines through the new Pathways Model as it considers:

  • the direct experiential feedback from victims, survivors and their families on the impact and effect of institutional abuse and redress processes 

  • the lessons from the multiple inquiries and report findings.

Consultation with victims and survivors who have engaged in the Melbourne Response or Towards Healing will be sought in addition to advice and input from related professionals, victim advocates and others who have been impacted in the community. This input will both inform and shape the way in which the Catholic Church in Victoria responds to future complaints of abuse with the voices of those with lived experience vital to our commitment of restorative journeying with adult survivors of abuse. 

​Through the Pathways Victoria model and processes, the Church and participating religious institutions seek to take responsibility for addressing wrongs that have been committed. The model responds to the need of those who wish to connect at a pastoral level with a one-to-one connection with a care coordinator who will walk alongside victims and survivors on their journey. It facilitates a compassionate approach with the opportunity to restore faith and trust with every step of engagement. 

We look forward to providing you with further information as the project develops. If you would like to be involved in the Pathways Victoria project, please click the link below to add yourself to our mailing list. 

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Upcoming Events

  • Consultation with adults who have experienced abuse
    Time is TBA
    Further details will be issued in due course


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