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Durham University

Boundary Breaking

Boundary Breaking



Boundary Breaking: Ecclesial-cultural Implications of the Sex Abuse Crisis within the Catholic Church


Boundary Breaking is a three year research project, in collaboration with organisations in the Catholic Church, examining the claim that aspects of Catholic culture and understanding may have contributed to the creation of an environment in which abuse, and its subsequent mishandling, took place.

Boundary Breaking engages theologically with the issues, whilst drawing on expertise across a range of disciplines including psychology and organisational studies, as well as insights from contemporary research into sexual abuse.

The project aims to identify and assess areas of potential weakness within the Catholic Church and, where appropriate, consider what role Catholic doctrine and understanding can play in ensuring that safeguarding is not simply a matter of process and policy, but that it is also theologically and culturally embedded within the Church’s self-understanding.

Those who have been sexually abused can experience devastating and lifelong effects. If you have been affected by sexual abuse, or any form of sexual violence, and wish to report it or seek help, you will find a series of helpful links here.