Church Provides New Guidance for Survivors of Abuse
The Church’s Canon Law Council has recommended to the Archbishop that the process of laying complaints of sexual abuse and harassment against those who minister or hold office in the church should be made easier.
The Council is now working on specific proposals aimed at achieving this objective. It is also reviewing, with a view to making recommendations, how the Church can prevent sexual abuse and harassment and how it can initiate early intervention in such cases, including providing support services, a helpline and crisis and survivor support.
The Council’s recommendations have been made in response to a request for advice by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba after a number of individuals spoke out in the media about harassment and abuse they said they suffered in the past. The Council comprises experienced lawyers who serve the Church as legal advisors and other Church representatives.
The Council told the Archbishop that the Pastoral Standards adopted by the Church in 2002, which provide comprehensive guidance and rules for those who minister, already set out a sound basis on which to receive and handle complaints against alleged lay, clerical and episcopal offenders. But its report suggested further action was needed.
As an immediate step, the Archbishop has directed that the Pastoral Standards be published in full on the Church’s website. Until now they have been available only in booklet form. The Pastoral Standards, and a fuller report on the Council’s work, can now be found on the website: