A message from Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta
On this second anniversary of the National Apology to the Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse we reflect on the significance of that event, and of the suffering of those who were harmed by people who were supposed to protect them.
The National Apology was made by the Prime Minister on behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian people. It followed the release of the final report and 409 recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Diocese of Parramatta continues to learn from the Royal Commission and from listening to survivors and victims. Over 17 000 of them came forward and nearly 8000 addressed the Royal Commission about the abuse that was done to them. We recognise the courage this must have taken after so many were not listened to for so many years. For many, it was the first time they had ever spoken about the horrific crimes they endured.
We continue to offer our unreserved and deepest apologies to those who were abused when in the care of the Diocese of Parramatta. We recognise many of them may still be traumatised by these experiences.
The Diocese is committed to being a community of safeguarding. This means we have zero tolerance of abuse in any form. We promise to do everything we can so no child or other person in our care is harmed again.
We are implementing the National Catholic Standards for Safeguarding. The Standards are our Diocese’s guide to ensure that as we continue to build our Church we will do it safely and carefully. As part of this, our job is to make sure everyone who works or acts for the Church understands and recognises the Standards as an integral part of their understanding of what it means to be engaged in the life of the Church.
We are providing specialised help for those who continue to suffer trauma through our Guarire House support services. Our aim is to listen and help survivors find what assistance they need – it may be counselling, helping with a crisis, providing information around reporting their abuse to the authorities, or assisting to work through the redress process. We invite any survivors of abuse by the Church in the Diocese of Parramatta to contact us through Guarire House in the hope that we can help you in some way.
We acknowledge the scars of the trauma of sexual abuse and power imbalance and the impact that has had on survivors and the Church.
We remember to look back in reflection while looking forward and taking concrete action to create a safe place for children and all people.
To find out more about Safeguarding in the Diocese of Parramatta go to https://safeguarding.org.au/
To find out more about Guarire House go to https://safeguarding.org.au/guarire-house/