“As a Church community, it is a cause of deep shame to us that some within the Church family whose very role has been to protect children, have been guilty of abuse. We acknowledge the evil. We offer profound regret and sincere apology. We will do everything we can to provide protection and healing to victims of this abuse.”
New Zealand Catholic Bishops, The Protection of Children
Abuse in the Catholic Church
Abuse can be sexual, physical or emotional. The Church takes reports of all forms of abuse seriously.
Criminal sexual or physical abuse is a matter for the police to investigate. Where the abuse appears to be of a criminal nature, and either current or historic, we encourage adult complainants to take the matter to the police, and we will support them in doing so. If the complaint or concern involves abuse of a person who is currently under 18 years of age, the Archdiocese’s Child Protection policy requires that we advise the police.
If the abuse is reported to the police, we will not protect the accused/offender from the processes of civil law nor hide the facts from those entitled to know them.
If the abuse is not of a criminal nature, the complaint can be dealt with according to the processes in A Path to Healing if that is the wish of the complainant. A Path to Healing is the protocol for dealing with complaints of abuse which has been adopted by the bishops and religious congregations in New Zealand.
National Office for Professional Standards
The bishops and congregational leaders established the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) to oversee the response to complaints of abuse. Virginia Noonan is the Director of the National Office for Professional Standards. The role of the National Office for Professional Standards includes oversight of all complaints from the time the complaint is made. If a review of the process is later requested this will be carried out by an independent person, not the National Office for Professional Standards.
The National Office for Professional Standards oversees the Safeguarding programme in each of the dioceses. This programme raises awareness of abuse, and identifies ways in which people can actively work together to create a safe environment in our Church communities. More information can be found in the Safeguarding section of this website.
If you or someone you know has been abused by a Catholic priest, member of a religious congregation or lay person working for or volunteering for the Church, we strongly encourage you to report the abuse. We will take what you say seriously – even if you prefer to remain anonymous, and even if the abuse happened many years ago.
Contact information if you wish to report abuse:
Archdiocese of Wellington:
Complaints Officer (Chris Duthie-Jung) Tel 04 496 1759
You can be assured of confidentiality whatever way you make contact.