In 1996 the Bishops of the Queensland Province adopted a protocol for dealing with complaints of abuse by clergy, religious and other employees (paid and non-paid) of the Catholic Church in Queensland. This protocol is called Towards Healing. Copies are available from the Townsville Diocesan office. The Bishop of Townsville has appointed Mrs Geraldine O'Brien to the Queensland Professional Standards Network, and as Diocesan Coordinator for Towards Healing. A Diocesan Advisory Committee, the Consultative Panel, has been formed to assist with these matters. The Diocese engages suitably trained personnel to ensure that all measures are taken to protect people, especially children and those who are vulnerable who engage with Church personnel in the Diocese.
The Response of the Church
The Bishops and Leaders of Religious Institutes of the Catholic Church in Queensland acknowledge with deep regret that a number of people have abused children, adolescents and adults who have been in their pastoral care.
Any attempt to sexualize a pastoral relationship is a breach of trust, an abuse of authority, and professional misconduct.
Any form of sexual behaviour with a minor or adolescent is always sexual abuse.
It is both immoral and criminal. Clergy, members of religious orders, and others who work in the name of the Church are in a special position of trust and authority in relation to those who are in their pastoral care, for example; parishioners, people seeking advice, the sick, people with disabilities and students at schools.
Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of sexual abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia have been set out in the booklet Towards Healing. This process also applies to complaints of physical and emotional abuse.
If you require further information please contact the Townsville Diocesan Office via this website or (07) 4726 3200
How do I make a Complaint?
Ring the Towards Healing help Line number (1800 337 928)
9.00am - 5.00pm
Monday to Friday
Queensland Professional Standards Office
The Help Line
You can ring the Help Line number if you wish to:
Talk in confidence about what happened, and about your current situation.
Make an official complaint which will be registered and investigated using the Towards Healing Process.
Ask in confidence for assistance and support.