CATHOLIC social welfare agency Centacare has rejected claims that a Ballarat victim of sexual abuse was referred to the organisation for counselling.
Peter Blenkiron, who was abused by a Christian Brother when he was 11-years-old, told ABC Radio he was referred to the Catholic agency after seeking assistance in preparing a submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by members of religious and other organisations.
Mr Blenkiron said the actions of a victims of crime helpline run by the Department of Justice were “beyond belief”.
Centacare Ballarat yesterday released a statement saying victims of sexual abuse by clergy who approach the organisation are referred onto organisations outside the church in keeping with long-standing practices to avoid conflicts of interest.
Centacare Ballarat executive director David Beaver said victims requiring assistance were cared for in an appropriate manner.
“We are well aware of the damage that sexual abuse does to victims and families, as we support such victims who experience sexual assault in family and other situations,” Mr Beaver said.
He said victims who were engaged with the Catholic church’s Towards Healing victims resolution process received free counselling.
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu told reporters in Melbourne he had been assured referrals to Catholic agencies were not taking place, but if it had happened in Mr Blenkiron’s case, it was “unfortunate”.
Mr Beaver said anyone requiring assistance should contact the Department of Justice help line on
1800 819 817.
The inquiry is currently receiving submissions from victims of child abuse and others who have been affected by the consequences of abuse and is due to report to parliament by April 30 2013.