Herald Sun

Church’s new path for abuse incidents

- SHANNON DEERY

THE Catholic Church will dump its controvers­ial Melbourne Response scheme for dealing with complaints of sexual abuse.

Introduced in 1996 by then Melbourne archbishop George Pell, the Melbourne Response was one of the church’s first schemes to offer redress to victims of paedophile priests.

But it was subsequent­ly slammed by the Royal Commission into Institutio­nal Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which found the compensati­on model’s independen­t commission­er deterred victims from taking complaints to police.

The scheme will be replaced by Pathways Victoria, which is still in developmen­t.

The Catholic Dioceses of Victoria on Tuesday opened a public consultati­on period for the new process.

“It is important that voices of those who have experience­d abuse are heard, and that their feedback helps to shape this new model,” a Pathways Victoria spokesman said.

“The proposed model will provide an operationa­lly independen­t structure for implementi­ng the Catholic Church’s National Response Protocol released this year, and will provide a person-centred and trauma-informed response.”

The new model will investigat­e complaints and respond to survivors as an alternativ­e to existing options, such as the National Redress Scheme and civil litigation. “It offers a pathway where survivors are listened to, acknowledg­ed, compensate­d and given care,” the spokesman said.

For informatio­n on how to participat­e in the consultati­on phase visit www.pathwaysvi­ctoria.com.

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