Victoria’s bishops have today announced the establishment of Pathways Victoria, a new model for responding consistently across the state’s dioceses to allegations of abuse in the Church.
“While we are deeply conscious that no effort will ever be sufficient to repair the lifelong harm suffered by those who have been abused, their families and loved ones, and the entire people of God, we are committed to restorative journeying with survivors of abuse that is compassionate, fair, respectful, and accountable,” Victoria’s bishops said in a statement.
The new model will begin on January 1 and is the Victorian implementation of the Church’s new National Response Protocol. It offers a compassionate, person-centred, and trauma-informed response for the independent investigation of allegations of abuse, delivered through a company that has been established for this purpose, governed by a board of independent directors.
From 2022, new complaints of abuse received by the Victoria dioceses will be responded to through Pathways, rather than through the Melbourne Response or Towards Healing, with professional support available from the first contact with the process.
In matters already being investigated, survivors will have the option of continuing in their current process or transferring to Pathways. Pathways will also be available to other Catholic entities and Church authorities operating in Victoria.
Pathways Victoria will offer an alternative to existing mechanisms such as the National Redress Scheme and civil litigation for those who may wish to engage in a pastoral response or for those who may not be eligible for the National Redress Scheme.
Statement from Victoria's bishops (Catholic Bishops of Victoria)