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NZ churches agree to 'abuse office'

New Zealand's religious organisations and the Catholic Church have accepted in principle the need to set up an independent national office to help deal with claims of abuse.

Catholic bishops met other religious organisations last week.

Details concerning funding, administration and the structure of such an office still needed to be worked out, the Catholic Church said, but the need for such an office had been agreed.

A Catholic order of brothers and the Salvation Army have been the focus of high-profile claims of abuse.

Complaints of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church are dealt with by the professional standards committees in each of the country's six diocese and by those operated by religious orders, the Church said.

The role of the new office would be "to assist complainants of abuse, as well as church agencies in cases where outcomes have been unsatisfactory or inconclusive".

Decisions about the office would be made by the end of the year.

NZ Herald/NZPA

John of God Order condemns tactics of NZ law firm (6/8/03)
Brothers make one-off payment to NZ abuse victims (4/12/02)
Accused nun in talks on NZ sex cases (4/9/02)
Catholic Church in New Zealand Christianity

19 Sep 2003