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The Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc. fills "gaps" that exist in the provision of services to any individual or Church, school, or other religious institutional community where allegations of sexual abuse have been made. We will assist in the development of "teams", in any diocese, parish, and any educational or religious institutional setting faced with allegations of sexual abuse by a staff member. We will aid in the development of methods and materials specific to those settings, and in the implementation of existing policies, by providing models and by facilitating communication within the parish, and including the alleged victims, and the diocese.
TThe Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc. promotes an open, honest discussion of the issue of sexual abuse in a Church setting among all those affected; "to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way" (St. Francis of Assisi). The Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc. empowers the "survivor" of sexual abuse to take positive action. We reach out to each victim survivor of abuse regardless of where they are. We will not seek to proselytize, preach or otherwise lead victims to a course of action, but rather simply seek to support them in finding trust again, and answers to unanswered questions.
At the same time, the Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc. shall, where possible and appropriate, facilitate the accused perpetrator of abuse in obtaining treatment and supportive services.
The Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc., using our expertise in the field of sexual abuse, can be called upon to assist the clergy, religious orders, and Church administrators in their "Pastoral Response" to individual cases or allegations of sexual abuse and help establish contingency plan for groups not in active crisis.he Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc. identifies methods to assist the clergy and laity in:
• Understanding the dynamics of sexual abuse and identifying some of the key concepts, which form a basic framework of knowledge (e.g., how a pedophile may look in the community, why children may repress, "forget", or recant, etc.);
• Recognizing the issues of initial denial, betrayal, taking sides, heightened emotions, and disbelief;
• Comprehending the "totality of the problem" and keeping focused on it;
• Addressing the legal complexities.
The Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc. works from the perspective of the Church as a "family system" and will: • Begin to identify the psycho/emotional issues of the abuse and how they differ from spiritual issues, and how these both can be addressed on a pastoral level; the perception of responsibility, or "sin", by the victims, issues of "forgiveness", spiritual healing, the loss of faith, etc.;
• Make use of a "historical perspective" in developing an understanding of sexual abuse;
• Offer ways to work directly with the parish in dissipating some of the intense anger and other feelings, while coming to a "common ground" from which to work together.• Help develop a way of using the existing strengths, skills and talent within a parish to deal with a crisis. The Pastoral Response Assistance Team, Inc. can help:
• Develop a library of materials on the issue of sexual abuse;
• Develop a listing of resources available within the community;
• Assist in developing a working relationship with the media;
• Develop a network of other individuals and groups working in the area of pastoral response to sexual abuse;
• Reach out to neighboring parishes and other parishes where an alleged perpetrator may have served;
• Develop support systems for clergy and religious women;
• Develop support systems for victims and their families;
• Coordinate multicultural community support;
• Help develop staff training
• Develop audio-visual materials;
• Assist in the development of a comprehensive investigation and assessment process;
• Provide or participate in workshops and conferences on a diocesan, regional, and national and international level for support and education of the laity, clergy, religious communities, and other concerned individuals;
• Develop liturgical resources with the assistance of liturgists, artists, and musicians pertaining to the issues of sexual abuse, trust, faith, security, love, and healing.
- Thomas Carr
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