The Catholic Church and religious institutions in Victoria are committed to a safe environment for all children, young people and vulnerable persons, seeking to embed safeguarding within their cultures and operations.
Commencing in 2022, and replacing Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response, Pathways Victoria offers a consistent, statewide model for responding to disclosures of Catholic Church abuse in Victoria.
Through the Pathways Victoria model and processes, the Church and participating religious institutions seek to take responsibility for addressing wrongs that have been committed.
Pathways Victoria seeks to offer a set of compassionate, just and appropriately resourced professional standards processes to respond to reports of abuse. For those who may wish to engage in a pastoral response, the Pathways Victoria model will offer an alternative to existing mechanisms, such as the National Redress Scheme and civil litigation.
Pathways Victoria has three distinct functions:
Pathways Victoria responds to a person making an allegation related to current or historical child sexual abuse and adult sexual misconduct, conducting investigations that respect the primacy of police processes and comply with any requirements set by the Commissioner for Children and Young People (CCYP) or by Canon Law.
The model responds to the needs of those victims and survivors who wish to connect at a pastoral level with a care coordinator who can meet with them one-to-one and walk alongside them on their journey. It facilitates a compassionate approach, in which every step of the engagement seeks to restore faith and trust.
Commencing on 1 July 2018, the National Redress Scheme also offers an independent model for reporting institutional abuse, with survivors of child sexual abuse able to approach the scheme at any time until 30 June 2027. Under the scheme, applications for redress are made by independent assessors, who decide on the appropriate levels of financial and other support, such as counselling services. The Catholic Church and other institutions participating in the scheme will meet the costs of redress that the scheme determines.
People who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse and who wish to access the scheme can visit the National Redress Scheme website (www.nationalredress.gov.au) or phone 1800 737 377.