March 31, 2005

Bishops survey victims of abuse

Fort Worth Star-Telegrm

By Rachel Zoll
The Associated Press

America's Roman Catholic bishops started an online survey of clergy sex-abuse victims Wednesday, asking how the church can better help them recover and protect young people in the future.

Advocacy groups said they were pleased that the bishops wanted to improve their outreach. But they wondered what more could be said on the topic after three years of damaging revelations about dioceses mishandling abuse cases.

"The needs and complaints of survivors have been well-expressed time and time again," said Sue Archibald, head of the victim-advocacy group The Linkup. "I don't know what really remains unknown in terms of what the problems are. Rather than continuing to gather information, I'd much rather see action."

Through the Web site, the bishops are asking victims to evaluate how diocesan officials responded to abuse claims, where church leaders failed in their reaction and how they can support victims as they heal.

"The horrific experience of being sexually abused is best understood by the survivors of this crime," said Archbishop Harry Flynn, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted by kshaw at March 31, 2005 06:37 AM