Archdiocese aids abuse victims

  • November 20, 2008
{mosimage}TORONTO - Male survivors of sexual abuse will be able to receive counselling from the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness (CCAA) thanks in part to the archdiocese of Toronto.

The archdiocese donated $30,000 to the CCAA, based in Newmarket, for its Help and Hope Project which focuses on helping men who were sexually victimized in their childhood.
“The CCAA is extremely grateful to the Catholic Church for their support of male victims and appreciate that they have offered this support without any restrictions,” Ellen Campbell, CCAA founder and executive director, said in a press release.

The funding, which is not reserved to Catholics nor intended to rebuild their relationship with the church, will help pay for 10- to 15-week group counselling sessions for men and provide educational workshops and support for family members of men who suffered this type of abuse. However, if so desired, spiritual guidance will be made available if someone wanted to discuss their spiritual journey related to their abuse.

Celeste Zugec, director of development and communications at the CCAA, told The Catholic Register that reports of the donation have already attracted several people who have contacted the CCAA to register for the first session, which began Sept. 27.

“There’s a lot more help out there for women than for men,” Zugec said. “Often men don’t know where to go until they see something.”

A cost of $40 for the entire program is suggested to help small costs like photocopies and snacks. However, no one will be turned away from the program if they can’t afford to pay, Zugec said. Also, even if they have missed several sessions, new participants are welcome to sign up.

“That donation (from the archdiocese) was imperative for us to run this program,” she said. “We are very grateful to the archdiocese.”

The incidence of male sex abuse victims under the age of 21 makes up 37 per cent of all underaged abuse victims in Canada, according to the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence.

Lynne MacDonell, the accredited therapist co-ordinating the project, draws from the experience of Tom Wilken, author of Rebuilding Your House of Self Respect, who will consult on the Toronto project. Wilken was responsible for co-ordinating a similar project with the London diocese.

To register for group counselling or to gain more information on workshops and seminars, contact MacDonell at (416) 996-4050 or by e-mail at

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