Responding to Victims
What happens when a person makes a report of sexual abuse to the Diocese?
Each call and each caller is unique. Callers to the Diocese may contact the Victims' Assistance Coordinator to report sexual abuse. Callers may also leave a message on the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Hotline at 817-945-9345. Some reports initially reach the diocese in the form of emails or letters.
The Victims' Assistance Coordinator seek to recognize and respond to the emotional state of callers, assuring them of our deep concern for their well-being.
- Callers are asked to share such details of the abuse as they are able, so that we can know what happened, when the abuse took place, and who was involved.
- When callers meet with the Victims' Assistance Coordinator, they are encouraged to bring a friend or family member with them for support. It is always helpful for persons reporting misconduct to have the support of a family member or friend who can accompany them at any stage of the process. At the first meeting, the Coordinator offers to arrange a meeting between the victim-survivor and the Bishop. A meeting with the bishop is an option open to victims-survivors at any time during the healing process.
- The Victims' Assistance Coordinator reviews the victim-survivors right to report their abuse to civil authorities, presents them with printed instructions on how to contact law enforcement in the jurisdiction (suburb, city or county) where the abuse occurred and guides them through the reporting process. The Victims' Assistance Coordinator reports the allegation of abuse to civil authorities and to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at 1-800-252-4200.
- In cases where reporting of abuse involves another diocese or religious order, the Victims' Assistance Coordinator assists victim-survivors to contact and report abuse to the appropriate individuals. The Victims' Assistance Coordinator assists the victim-survivor throughout the process.
- The Victims' Assistance Coordinator answer any questions callers have and discuss with them the kinds of assistance they need in order to continue their healing process.
- The Victims' Assistance Coordinator can provide a list of counseling and spiritual resources and assist victim-survivor to contact an appropriate therapist; or the Coordinator will work with any counselors already providing therapy to victim-survivor and their families.
- The Victims' Assistance Coordinator provides on-going pastoral care and support to victim-survivors and their families; the Coordinator can also arrange a meeting between the victim-survivor and the Bishop at any time during the healing process.
- Pastoral care and outreach to victim-survivors and their families are our first concerns and continue as long as the victim-survivor requests it.