Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Victim criticises diocese’s sex abuse therapies


A Catholic diocese in New South Wales has been criticised for offering inappropriate therapies at its unit set up to help victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

Zimmerman House was established by the Maitland/Newcastle Catholic Diocese last year.

Earlier this month, the diocese’s Bishop Michael Malone apologised to abuse survivors. He was the only Australian bishop publicly calling for the Pope’s World Youth Day apology to abuse victims.

Victims such as Peter Gogarty applauded the bishop for dealing with the issue.

But Mr Gogarty has raised concerns about Zimmerman House, saying it has a mostly female staff and the meditation, art and gardening therapies are not beneficial.

“For a lot of male victims there’s not a lot of direct services that would be any good to them,” he said.

Another victim, ‘Anne’, is more positive.

“They support you on your journey and you know they listen to you,” she said.

Zimmerman House manager Helen Keevers says the diocese has done its best to ensure the therapies are relevant, but admits they will not suit everyone.

“Those services – the ones that probably fall in to what people would think are the light and fluffy services, like meditation and gardening and some of the music therapies – have all been suggested by survivors,” she said.

“The aim of the service is to respond to the wishes of survivors.”

August 18, 2008 - Posted by | Australia, Catholic Church, Church Scandals, Sex Abuse

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