Canadian Catholic Bishops have launched a national bilingual website to report sexual assaults, whether committed by a bishop or covered up. The site is a “direct response” to Pope Francis’ request “to create one or more reporting options that are public, stable and easily accessible,” according to a statement by the bishops published in Ottawa. It is another step in dealing with abuse.
The statement said BishopReportingSystem.ca provides victims with a safe and confidential platform to report sexual assault or cover-up by any active or retired Canadian bishop. The reporting platform provided additional accountability to the Church’s leadership in Canada.
Checked by a “Bishop’s auditor”
Once the report is received, it will be examined by a ‘Bishop Auditor’. Usually this is the archbishop or bishop in charge of the region in which the accused bishop is active. If the allegation is against an archbishop or a bishop, the report goes to the papal representative, it is said. The expert will submit an assessment to the Vatican with a request to initiate an investigation. After that, the bishop is allowed to investigate and file a report within 90 days. If the accused bishop is found guilty, the Vatican will impose disciplinary measures.
“This system puts victims’ concerns first and aims to remove the multiple barriers that prevent detection of abuse,” said Delphine Colin Vizina, professor of trauma education at McGill University in Montreal. The Canadian Bishops’ initiative helps “heal and heal people who have been mistreated,” says the expert.
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