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.
Commencing in 2022, Pathways Victoria will offer a consistent state wide model to respond to disclosures of Catholic Church abuse in Victoria replacing Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response. The model is based on the National Response Protocols which you can find more information about below.
Nationally, The National Redress Scheme also offers an independent model to report institutional 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.
National Response Protocol
The Catholic Church in Australia has established a new, nationally-consistent approach for handling concerns and allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct, creating the best outcomes for people bringing forward concerns and those responsible for responding to them. The Protocol was drafted with input from many stakeholders, including survivors and their supporters.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference adopted the National Response Protocol in November 2020, with the protocol implemented from February 1, 2021.
The implementation of the National Response Protocol from February 1 will mean that Towards Healing and The Melbourne Response will be phased out. Church entities that have matters already being managed under Towards Healing or The Melbourne Response can continue to use those processes until the matter is resolved. Towards Healing and The Melbourne Response continue to be valid until the end of 2021 while Church authorities implement the National Response Protocol locally. The National Response Protocol will be monitored regularly to allow for ongoing refinement and improvement.
Please download the National Response Protocol here.