Healing for Survivors
The mistreatment and exploitation of the innocent-sexually, physically, emotionally and spiritually-robs a person of their right to have their God given dignity be treated with respect. As a result of such cruel abuses, persons may experience after affects and manifest behaviors that vary among victims. Transitioning from victim to survivor helps a person to seek a way of life that leads to a fruitful life apart from the effects of abuse. The path from victim to survivor begins in recognizing the need for therapeutic and spiritual healing.
If you have suffered the pain and injustice of abuse, harassment or other scandalous evils, and would like help in finding healing and peace, please know that resources and support are available to you. Survivors should also be reassured that the Archdiocese of Washington seeks to be vigilant in rooting out perpetrators of abuse, including working with civil authorities in criminal prosecutions, and preventing abuse in the first place through various pro-active efforts.
If you suspect abuse, would like to learn about warning signs of abuse or to report abuse resources are also available for you.
Resources for Recognizing and Reporting Sexual Abuse:
- Sexual Abuse Tip Sheet
- Reporting on Child Sexual Abuse
- Darkness to Light End Child Sexual Abuse
- Posters and bulletin inserts from the USCCB Child and Youth Protection website including: Child and Youth Protection Facts and Figures (Spanish); Survivor Outreach Poster (Spanish)
- Parent’s Guide to Protecting Our Children
- The Clerical Sex Abuse Scandal: What Parents Can Do, and How to Talk With Kids
- ADW Office of Child Protection & Safe Environment website
Resources for Healing After Abuse:
- My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints by Dawn Eden
- The Healing Power of Forgiveness by Ray Pritchard
- Anger and Forgiveness by Raymond Richmond
- The Healing Power of the Eucharist by John H. Hampsch
What Can I do?
What does the Archdiocese of Washington do to help survivors?
- Apology and statement of remorse by Archdiocesan leadership
- Immediate offer of paid counseling, therapy and other assistance (1) of an individual’s choice, (2) for as long as needed to heal and (3) for family members, in some situations
- The Archdiocese of Washington has provided assistance regardless of legal claims. The archdiocese has paid for counseling even after being sued and even after the suit was thrown out of court on its merits, because we believed it was the right thing to do.
- Opportunity to meet with the archbishop or auxiliary bishop. Our bishops have traveled to meet with victims, provided them with a private phone number and e-mail, and set aside regular office time just for victims who would like to meet.
- Licensed clinical social worker on staff to assist those coming forward and Office of Child and Youth Protection to assist victims and implement prevention programs