Role of the Support Person(s)
A Support Person(s) is appointed by the Archbishop to those who make an allegation/disclose abuse under these procedures. The person (who can be a child or adult) making the allegation will be offered a choice between a male or female Support Person.
The role of the Support Person(s) is to assist, where appropriate, with communication between the child or adult making an allegation/disclosure and the Diocesan Designated Officer.
- To facilitate the child or adult in gaining access to information and help.
- To represent their concerns during the inquiry process.
The Archdiocese will provide appropriate training to the Support Person. The Support Person(s) is not a counsellor to the child or adult, and must not be or act as their therapist. Support Persons must be particularly attentive to the expressed needs and objectives of the child or adult and the fact that some may be reluctant to seek help. Support Persons should, therefore, consider how any therapeutic or spiritual needs, of a child or adult who has made an allegation/ disclosed abuse, may be met and will be mindful of his/her ongoing vulnerability during this process.
In addition, the Support Person should:
- consider any wishes of the child or adult disclosing abuse, in regard to a pastoral response by the Church to his or her family;
- be available to the child or adult throughout the course of the inquiry process, and thereafter as required;
- ensure the child or adult is kept informed of developments in relation to them;
- represent the wishes and any therapeutic needs of the child or adult to the Designated Officer, as required;
- arrange, if considered helpful, a meeting between the child or adult and the Archbishop.
Under no circumstances should the same Support Person be provided for the child or adult making the allegation/disclosure of abuse and for the respondent.