- When should I contact the Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services Office?
The Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services Director encourages you to contact the staff for any of the following reasons:
- For resources or names of individual counselors who specialize in working with abuse victims, perpetrators or affected family members
- For assistance or information on reporting procedures for both civil and Church regulations
- For identification of Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services contact persons who have been trained to serve as an advocate or support person for anyone involved in a sexual abuse situation
- For information on upcoming training events related to sexual abuse
- For advice on positive responses of acceptance and spiritual healing in a Church context
- Who is served by the Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services Office?
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is committed to providing a service that is compassionate, fair and just to all concerned. Persons who are served by Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services Office include:
- Those who have experienced or been affected by sexual abuse by church personnel
- Parishes that have been involved in instances of sexual abuse
- Other archdiocesan offices
- What can I expect if I contact the archdiocese?
If you make a complaint about any abuse by Church personnel, past or present, you can expect that the Victim Assistance Coordinator will listen to you, make a complete report and answer your questions about the process of reporting abuse. The Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Archdiocesan Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services will help you through the reporting process. Making a report is often the first step toward healing and recovery.
If you would feel more comfortable making a report outside the Church structure, call The Healing Center at 1-414-671-4325 where an advocate will assist you. The Healing Center has bi-lingual advocates who can take your reports in Spanish.
- What will the archdiocese do about the perpetrator?
All reports of sexual abuse will be referred immediately to civil authorities. The archbishop and other appropriate
archdiocesan officials will be notified.
Any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult will result in the alleged perpetrator’s temporary removal from ministry until an investigation is concluded.
If civil authorities are unable to pursue an investigation of the allegation, the archdiocese will refer the case to an independent investigator, who will take into account the rights of all parties.
The Diocesan Review Board examines the findings of all investigations and ensures that all perpetrators are
permanently removed from ministry.
Throughout this process, the VAC is available for support and is your contact person for status updates.
- How will the archdiocese help me?
It is our responsibility to hear your pain and support your recovery and healing, knowing that nothing by way of apology or resources can fully erase your suffering. We strive to assist each person in an individualized manner with recovery to a healthy and whole life.
Resources may include:
- Psychotherapy with the therapist of your choice at archdiocesan expense
- Referral to community agencies and resources
- Spiritual direction
- Listening opportunity with the archbishop
- What is the archdiocese doing to prevent the sexual abuse of other people?
The archdiocese has implemented a comprehensive Safe Environment Program with all personnel and students in parishes and schools throughout the archdiocese. All personnel receive regular training in recognizing and reporting child abuse, as well as in the Archdiocesan Code of Ethics. Those who work with
children, whether paid and unpaid, must undergo a criminal background check.
All parish and school personnel, including clergy, are mandatory reporters of child abuse. Consultation and
assistance regarding mandatory reporting requirements and procedures are provided for personnel.
All students in Catholic programs receive age-appropriate education in recognizing, resisting and reporting
- Why does the archdiocese want me to report sexual abuse?
It is very important that you report any instance of abuse for many reasons:
- So you may begin healing,
- So justice may be served, and
- So no one else will be victimized.
When you report an instance of sexual abuse or exploitation to the archdiocese, this triggers a carefully defined process to accomplish several purposes:
- To ensure that all abuse is reported to appropriate civil and Church authorities.
- To comply with all civil and canon laws and the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth.
- To take every measure possible to hold the perpetrator accountable.
- To make available resources to help you restore your wholeness.