A representative from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) will attend the summit on safeguarding against sexual abuse of minors to be held in the Vatican next month. Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington and vice-president of the NZCBC will attend the meeting which will take place 21 – 24 February 2019. Because of recent eye surgery the President of the Conference, Bishop Patrick Dunn, is unable to attend, with the Cardinal taking his place at the summit.
According to a statement by a Vatican spokesperson, the purpose of the February summit is to ensure that all bishops clearly understand, prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors. The Vatican has acknowledged that Bishops’ conferences in many countries “have undertaken important initiatives and tried to understand what really happened, how to help the victims and how to establish a culture of prevention.”
Pope Francis is reported as saying that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response. He has encouraged bishops in their own dioceses to meet with and listen to survivors of abuse.
Cardinal Dew said that “listening to individuals who have been harmed is critical in our own process of learning from the past, ensuring a response of compassion and one from which our processes for safeguarding are informed. In our own dioceses, bishops and congregational leaders have met and continue to meet with victims where possible.”
The NZCBC encourages anyone who has been abused by a priest or member of a religious order to contact the Church’s National Office for Professional Standards, for their story to be heard and their complaint to be investigated. Alternately people may choose to go directly to the Police, and the Church will support anyone who requires assistance to do so.
To make a complaint, or receive more information about the Church’s safeguarding or complaint processes, please contact 0800 114 622 or email@example.com