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Committee head praises role of media in sex abuse scandal

The media focus on sexual abuse within the Church has had positive benefits by encouraging some people who have been hurt to come forward, according to Sr Angela Ryan of the Church's Professional Standards Committee.

"The media attention has allowed some people to feel that they can come forward and talk about their abuse, and that they can go forward to the police, through legal processes, or through Towards Healing," Sr Angela, the committee's executive officer, told the Catholic Weekly.

For many victims, she said, just being heard and believed provides great comfort.

"In two cases where I said to people 'I believe what you're saying', the tears just welled up in their eyes," she said. "That's the beginning of some hope that there can be some healing."

On the other hand, it has brought back bad memories for some who had gone some way to putting experiences of sexual abuse behind them.

National Committee for Professional Standards (Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference & the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes)
Towards Healing - December 2000 Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church of Australia

Catholic Weekly

27 Jun 2002