Safe Environments

The policy for Safe Environments and the Protection of Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults acknowledges the need to provide safe pastoral environments and protect those most vulnerable in our parish communities.

It establishes best practices not only to protect those to whom we minister, especially children, youth and vulnerable adults, but also to ensure the integrity, safety and reputation of those who minister, namely, clergy, religious, staff and church volunteers, and the ministries they provide.

Together, we can better promote wholeness, accountability, trust and care within the Church by fulfilling our spiritual, ethical, moral, and legal responsibilities.

Responsible Ministry

Overview
→ What is abuse?
→ Glossary and Further Reading
 

Screening and Training

→ For Volunteers and Parishes
→ For Clergy and Consecrated Persons
→ For Lay Employees and the Eparchy

Reporting and Responding to Abuse

→ Report Abuse
→ What happens when abuse is reported?
→ Care and Healing

Reporting and Responding to Abuse 

The Church takes seriously its responsibility to provide a safe pastoral environment within its parishes and ministries. When an allegation arises, the Eparchy of Edmonton is committed to responding with compassion and in a timely manner, providing assistance to those in need of healing and reconciliation, and will take any and all means to prevent a future occurrence of abuse.

 

Call 911 if someone is in immediate danger

Abuse involving a minor (under 18)

Contact the civil authorities immediately:
Local police service/RCMP detachment
Crime Stoppers:                                       1 800 222 8477
24-hour Child Abuse Hotline:      1 800 387 5437
Online exploitation:                        www.cybertip.ca

Abuse involving a senior

Local police service/RCMP detachment
Crime Stoppers:                              1 800 222 8477
Family Violence Info Line:            310 1818

Report abuse in the Church

For all matters of abuse involving vulnerable persons, seniors, minors, church properties/finances, bullying, etc. by any bishop, clergy, staff, or lay volunteer within the Church, please contact Andrea Leader, Eparchial Safe Environments Coordinator, in confidence.

(780) 426 4176

Andrea Leader
What happens when I report abuse within the Church?

The following outlines the process to be followed by the Eparchy of Edmonton should it be made aware of any allegation of abuse or miscount in ministry which is contrary to the Safe Environment Policy.

                 

1. Refer abuse complaints to the Safe Environments Coordinator who will collect preliminary information regarding the complaint and prepare an intake report. At the same time, the Safe Environments Coordinator will notify the Bishop’s Delegate of the complaint.  NOTE: If the abuse involves a minor (under 18 years of age), the Safe Environments Coordinator must by law immediately contact local police authorities.

 

2. After completing the report, the Safe Environments Coordinator will forward the intake report to the Bishop’s Delegate who will begin a preliminary investigation. If the allegation lacks credible evidence or is deemed to be not credible at the time of intake, the process ends here, and the parties are informed.  If it appears to be a credible allegation, the following steps are taken:  

 

3. If the alleged perpetrator is the eparchial bishop:

a) The metropolitan and the patriarch will be notified of the allegation.

b) The metropolitan will immediately contact the Holy See through the Apostolic Nuncio for further instruction.

 

4. If the alleged perpetrator is a priest, deacon, sub-deacon or lector:

a) The cleric is notified of the allegation and is placed on administrative leave.

b) The bishop issues a decree opening a canonical investigation.

c) The Bishop’s Delegate undertakes an investigation determining the probability of the offences.

d) The Bishop issues a decree closing the investigation and forwards the file to the Safe Environments Advisory Committee for review and recommendations.

i) If the victim was a minor at the time of the offence or the offence is a graver delict/crime, the matter is forwarded to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (Rome).

ii) If the victim was not a minor at the time of the alleged delict/crime, the bishop addresses the matter within the Eparchy.

e) The following canonical procedures could take place: judicial trial, the administrative procedure, ex-officio dismissal from the clerical state

f) The result of the above-mentioned procedures and/or resolution may be appealed by either party.

 

5)   If the alleged perpetrator is a consecrated person (men and women religious) ministering in an official capacity within the Eparchy of Edmonton:

a) The consecrated person is notified of the allegation and his/her ability to minister in the Eparchy of Edmonton is suspended.

b) His/her superior is notified and, working with the Bishop’s Delegate and the Safe Environments Advisory Committee, will initiate the religious community’s own allegation investigation process.

 

6)   If the alleged perpetrator is a lay person (employee or volunteer) who is ministering in an official capacity within the Eparchy of Edmonton:

a) The person is notified of the allegation and is placed on administrative leave.

b) The Bishop’s Delegate undertakes an investigation to determine the probability of the offences.

c) The Bishop’s Delegate forwards the report to the Safe Environments Advisory Committee for recommendations.

d) Discipline or termination for employees and suspension from ministry for volunteers will be assessed.

 

Safe Environments Advisory Committee

The Safe Environments Advisory Committee reviews and assists in assessing all complaints regarding abuse of children, youth and vulnerable adults assigned to it by the Bishop’s Delegate and makes recommendations within an appropriate timeframe to the bishop or appropriate persons regarding actions to be taken.

Members include:

Rev. Julian Bilyj – Vicar General, Bishop’s Delegate, Committee Chairperson

Lidia M. Wasylyn – Trust Officer/Lawyer

S/Sgt. Steven Chwok – Retired, Edmonton Police Service

Dr. Heather Jamieson, PhD – Registered Psychologist

Dr. Theresa Zolner, PhD – Registered Psychologist

John Vizza, JCL – Canon Lawyer

Teresa Kellendonk – Professional Investigator

Andrea Leader – Eparchial Safe Environments Coordinator

Care and Healing

The Eparchy of Edmonton is committed to spiritual care and healing by ensuring that:

  • those who bring forth allegations of abuse are treated with dignity and respect
  • spiritual care, counselling and support are made available to victims of abuse
  • the good reputation and the privacy of all persons involved are protected


Victim’s Care Committee

The purpose of the Victim’s Care Committee is to ensure that appropriate assistance is made available to victims of sexual abuse committed by clergy, religious, employees and volunteers while ministering in the Eparchy of Edmonton.  The goal is to enable the healing of those victimized by the abuse, their families, the parish community and others who may have been hurt by the abuse.

Members include:

Professional psychologist or qualified counselor experienced with abuse issues

Married couple with young children

A priest, deacon and/or religious sister or brother

A civil lawyer

The Victim’s Care Committee will receive referrals from the Safe Environments Advisory Committee following the Advisory Committee’s investigation and response to the complaint.