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Sexual Abuse in the Church: A Restorative Response

Rea, Lisa
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Paper presented at “New Frontiers in Restorative Justice: Advancing Theory and Practice”, Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University at Albany, New Zealand, 2-5 December.

Since 2002, the Catholic Church in the United States has responded to increasing reports of sexual abuse by clergy. In 2000 the Catholic Bishops of the United States took a policy position embracing restorative justice. The Justice & Reconciliation Project, JRP, headed by Lisa Rea has publicly encouraged leaders in the Catholic Church to apply restorative justice principles to itself during this crisis. How has the Church responded? What could it do? How could healing occur in these cases? Should monetary settlement paid to victims of sexual abuse be enough? Are these cases closed? These questions will be covered during this presentation as well as probing the possibility of one on one victim offender dialogue in such cases. In addition, the presentation will include a discussion about the role of restorative justice practitioners in providing a higher standard as we advocate for restorative justice throughout the world. This standard of justice is based on the hope of redemption and forgiveness undergirded by offender accountability. (The Justice & Reconciliation Project (JRP): a non-profit organization based in the United States committed to working to restore the lives of those harmed by crime by advocating for reforms promoting forgiveness and reconciliation between crime victims and offenders. JRP works to raise up a victims-led voice in support of restorative justice policies. JRP can be reached at Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,


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