Professional Standards: Towards Healing
In 1994 the Bishops of the Queensland Province adopted a protocol called Towards Healing for dealing with complaints of sexual abuse by clergy, religious and other employees of the Catholic Church in Queensland. Under Towards Healing, each Diocese has appointed someone to assist people with complaints of abuse. The Bishop of Toowoomba has appointed Barry Sheehan, Director of Centacare Toowoomba, as the Contact Person for Professional Standards for this Diocese and also to act as his delegate to the State Professional Standards Resource Group (QPSRG). The Professional Standards Resource Group also deals with education and ensures the recruitment and presence of suitably trained personnel to fill the roles necessitated by the National Protocol - Towards Healing.
The Response of the Church
The Bishops and Leaders of Religious Institutes of the Catholic Church in Queensland acknowledge 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 e.g. 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.
The Help Line
Please ring the Help Line number - 1800 337 928 - if you wish to:
Talk in confidence about what happened, and about your current situation.
Make an official complaint which will be registered and if appropriate investigated.
Ask in confidence for assistance and support.
REMEMBER: YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT THE POLICE AT ANY TIME.
How do I make a complaint?
Ring the Help Line number (1800 337 928) 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 discuss your complaint with you and will advise you on what further steps you may take.