Reporting system launched for church sexual abuse

Diocese of London crest. Courtesy Diocese of London/Twitter.

The Diocese of London (DOL) has joined a nationwide service that reports instances of sexual abuse within the Church.

The Bishops of Canada has launched the Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop, which the Diocese said is a commitment to providing transparency and healing for parishioners who have suffered from sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy.

“The Catholic Bishops of Canada condemn the sin and crime of sexual abuse in the strongest possible terms. No one should ever have to endure the pain, humiliation, and long-term suffering it causes, nor should anyone have to doubt that serious consequences await a perpetrator of sexual abuse or cover-up,” read a release provided by the Diocese of London. “With this reporting system, the Bishops make themselves accountable to live with integrity, and to address reports of sexual abuse according to Church and civil law.”

The Bishops of Canada has worked with ClearView Strategic Partners, a Canadian firm that creates secure whistleblower and reporting platforms, which can be accessed on the DOL’s official website. Anyone wishing to make a report can provide the information via the platform. It is then sent along to Church authorities.

Incidents that can be reported this way include those involving sexual abuse, misconduct that includes sexual harassment or accessing child pornography, or the covering-up of abuse by a Bishop or other Church official.

Dr. Delphine Collin-Vézina, Director of the Centre for Research on Children and Families at McGill University in Montreal, applauded the Bishops of Canada for putting this reporting system in place.

“The newly established national, bilingual system for reporting sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, or cover-up by a Catholic Bishop in Canada is an important step forward in this direction,” said Vezina. “This system is rooted in a victim-first approach and aims to remove the multiple barriers that prevent disclosure. These abuses have been silenced and covered up for too long, leaving victims and survivors unheard.”

Victims can also report abuse by way of a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week toll-free number, answered in English and French, at 1-866-892-3737, from anywhere in Canada.