RESPONSE TO MEDIA OF REFERRALS TO CENTACARE SERVIC
Centacare Ballarat confirmed today that no victim of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church has approached or been referred to Centacare since the Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations has been announced.
If a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the Church was to approach Centacare Ballarat it would follow its long-standing practice of not providing counselling services to such victims, because it believes this could be a conflict of interest. Instead, Centacare Ballarat would refer any such person to other agencies not connected with the Catholic Church for support.
The workers at Centacare Ballarat are professionals who understand the potential conflict of interest of dealing with victims who have been abused by members of the Catholic Church. “We are well aware of the damage that sexual abuse does to victims and families, as we support such victims who experience sexual assault in family and other situations,” Executive Director Mr. David Beaver said today.
The Victims Assistance Counselling Program (VACP), run by Centacare Ballarat in Western Victoria on behalf of the Victorian Department of Justice, is a case management and referral programme. Enquiries are normally first made over the telephone. Those who approach this service are supported to make decisions about the services they require, and are normally referred on to other services who can meet their longer term needs.
One victim of Church abuse approached Centacare’s VACP last year, after receiving counselling through the Church’s response mechanism Towards Healing. Centacare Ballarat’s VACP provided information to that person on claiming VOCAT (Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal) entitlements. Centacare Ballarat is also helping to fund ongoing counselling for that person with a counsellor of the victim’s choosing who is not a Centacare Ballarat staff member.
For further information and interviews, please contact the Directors Office on 03 5337 8999
Ballarat Bacchus Marsh Geelong Hamilton Horsham Mildura Swan Hill Warrnambool
Central Office4 - 6 Peel Street North, Ballarat.
PO Box 2537, Bakery Hill VIC 3354
Telephone: (03) 5337 8999 Fax: (03) 5332 4465
Member of CatholicCare Victoria / Tasmania
ARBN: 141 905 820 Registered Office: Victoria