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Durham University

Boundary Breaking


Those who have been sexually abused experience devastating and lifelong effects. The voices of victim-survivors, along with secondary victims, are essential to our study; they serve as a catalyst for addressing the issues and their testimonies directly inform the research.

The research will involve the following:

  • Establishment of a Project Stakeholder Group to ensure voices from a range of stakeholders, including victim-survivors, are heard and taken on board.
  • A wide-scale review of existing literature around sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and relevant comparative literature across various organisational contexts, with attention to whether there are any specific factors relating to the Catholic Church that may have contributed to or enabled sexual abuse
  • Further qualitative studies with victim-survivors, secondary victims and further relevant voices in order to explore whether there are any specific aspects of Catholicism which led to sexual abuse taking place within the Church.
  • Theological analysis of the data.

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.