I was abused by a priest when I was young. Can something be done to help me now?
Yes. What happened to you was wrong and a crime. It was not your fault. You are encouraged to call the police to report the crime. You are also encouraged to report the abuse to the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator. Find the name and phone number of that person at this link, or call the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at 202-541-5413 to help you find the right person to call. You can get help and healing for the pain you have suffered.
The offending person is deceased. Can I still get help?
Yes, call the Victim Assistant Coordinator in your diocese. They can help you get started. Find the name and phone number of that person at this link, or call the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at 202-541-5413 to help you find the right person to call. You can get help and healing for the pain you have suffered.
I do not want to report it to the police. I reported it earlier and no one believed me.
I do not want to go through that again. If I report it to the diocese, do I have to make a police report?
You are not required to report past abuse to the police, but you are encouraged to do so. There are many reasons someone might not want to report to the police. However, the Church still wants to know about any incidents of cleric abuse. Please report it to the diocese even if you do not want to report it to the police. The Church is required to report all abuse that has happened to a minor.
Diocesan Victim Assitance
Coordinator for the
Archdiocese of Santa Fe:
The first obligation of the Church with regard to victims is for healing and reconciliation. Dioceses continue to reach out to every person who has been a victim of sexual abuse as a minor by anyone in church service, whether that abuse is recent or occurred in the past.
If you suffered abuse, it was not your fault. If you are a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, or individual representing the Catholic Church, there are several things you can do:
Contact the appropriate law enforcement agency, which can help determine options for making a criminal complaint.
Contact a local child protection agency, a private attorney, a support group, an abuse hotline, or a mental health professional.
Contact a diocesan or victim assistance coordinator who is available to help victims/survivors make a formal complaint of abuse to the diocese. The Victim Assistance Coordinator is also available to arrange a personal meeting with the bishop or his representative and to obtain support for the needs of the individual and families.