An update from the Archdiocese of Vancouver on the recommendations relating to sexual abuse by clergy – planned to be released by the end of March – has been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Archbishop’s Delegate for Operations James Borkowski described the delay as “extremely regrettable,” but said it was necessary for five primary reasons:
- The new independent Office of Victim/Survivor Support cannot be open for public work as its counsellors and social workers are not taking new clients until provincial meeting restrictions are lifted.
- The plans for parish-based announcements and support services for locations where abusive priests served cannot be implemented until after congregations begin to gather again.
- Healing liturgies and parish-based events for victims cannot be held at this time.
- International travel bans have limited the ability of audit firms to report on the archdiocese’s commitment to centralized file storage.
- The two assigned Independent Investigators who have been reviewing all known cases cannot continue their meetings with victims and witnesses until after the pandemic.
“We remain committed to reporting on our progress as soon as these core activities can begin,” Borkowski said. In the meantime, the Implementation Working Group is continuing to work remotely on finding solutions for the remaining recommendations.
The Archdiocese of Vancouver published its Report on Clergy Abuse in November 2019 and has been making significant progress in implementing the 31 recommendations of the report, said Borkowski.
As a direct result of the report, 14 victims/survivors reached out, eight of whom were previously unknown to the archdiocese, said Borkowski. Some are receiving help for the first time and all have expressed surprise that the Church wanted to listen and provide support.