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Towards Healing architect expresses confidence in process

People "are being helped, families are supported and they're able to move on with their lives", says Adelaide's Vicar General, Monsignor David Cappo.

"I'm convinced that most people who come into the Towards Healing process receive justice and compassion and I'll stand by that claim," he said. "The document we produced in 1996 and revised in 2000 has been very successful in healing many, many victims of abuse.

"I've had personal contact with many victims over the years who say the Towards Healing process responded to them with dignity after they had been degraded through abuse."

Monsignor Cappo urged Catholics to have faith in Towards Healing, the national process used by the Catholic Church to deal with allegations of sex abuse involving priests, religious or lay workers.

He is one of the authors of the document and says he personally knows of many cases of sexual abuse which have been successfully reconciled through the process.

He says the Australian process "took the best" of what was available both nationally and internationally after widespread investigation and consultation and developed it into national procedures and principles which best responded to complaints of abuse.

He conceded that mistakes had been made in the past, with complainants being asked to sign confidentiality clauses in some settlements with the Church.

The Towards Healing process applies to most religious orders and dioceses in Australia and sets a minimum standard of practice through the National Committee for Professional Standards, a committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, and 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
Church defends abuse investigation process (29/7/02)
Terms of Reference - the Pell Enquiry (Geoff Cahill)

Catholic Weekly

20 Sep 2002