U.S. Bishops approve third-party hotline for sexual abuse complaints
After meeting with Pope Francis last week, the U.S. Catholic bishops have approved a “third-party reporting system” for complaints of sexual abuse. It is one of the steps the administrative committee has taken in response to the recent sex-abuse scandal findings.
The USCCB stated that the phone and internet hotline “will confidentially receive complaints of sexual abuse of minors and adults by bishops” and those complaints will be directed to ecclesiastical and civil authorities.
Additionally, the bishop's Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance will set up policies for those bishops who have been removed from their position or have resigned. They will also set up a Code of Conduct for bishops, when hearing complaints of abuse or negligence.
Finally, they have asked lay experts, law enforcement and social services to launch a full investigation of the allegations surrounding Archbishop McCarrick.
The USCCB have pledged to care for victims and to allow “genuine concern and care” for victims replace the “fear of scandal.”
They also stated that to “anyone who has been abused, never hesitate to also contact local law enforcement. If you don't feel comfortable for any reason with the Church providing help, your diocese can connect you with appropriate community services.”