Statement Regarding New Way of Providing Assistance to Victims/Survivors

From Tim O’Malley, Director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Today, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced a partnership with Twin Cities-based Canvas Health to provide victim assistance services for those harmed by clergy sexual abuse or other misconduct in Church ministry. This innovative partnership marks an important step in fulfilling the recommendation of the Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task Force to establish an independent 24/7 hotline where concerns regarding misconduct can be reported. Canvas Health has trained representatives who are always available at (651) 291-4497.

The archdiocese has offered victim assistance since 1992. This assistance includes referrals and financial support for counseling, individual or group therapy and spiritual advising or direction.

The announcement of this partnership follows an evaluation of the archdiocese’s victim assistance program by a nationally-recognized expert on providing assistance to sexual abuse victims/survivors. Jane Braun, who is the former Project Director of the Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, recommended taking specific steps to enhance the archdiocese’s victim assistance program.

I and other archdiocesan leaders also consulted with victims/survivors of clergy abuse, as well as plaintiffs’ attorneys and other experts about enhancing our victim assistance program. We will continue to be in communication with these groups to make further improvements. We are hopeful that our partnership with Canvas Health will be helpful to victims/survivors in healing and will encourage those who may be suffering in silence to come forward and report to law enforcement and seek assistance.

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