By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

A support group for adult survivors of clergy sexual abuse begins next month through a collaboration between the Victim Assistance Program of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) in Bucks County.

The 10-week sessions, held Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m., begin Nov. 10.

All participants must pre-register with NOVA at 1-800-675-6900. Upon registration, the location of the sessions will be announced.

The meetings are open to inspaniduals throughout the area who have experienced clergy sexual abuse regardless of where the abuse took place, including survivors from other dioceses and inspaniduals from other denominations.

The Victim Assistance Program, which operates under the auspices of the Office for Child and Youth Protection, is funding the program; NOVA is facilitating the group sessions.

Karen K. Becker, director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection, is hopeful the support group will prove to be a helpful addition to the numerous resources and services provided through the Victim Assistance Program.

“NOVA has an extensive history of serving the victim community in this area and providing support groups for victims of crime,” Becker said.

The goal is to create a place for adult survivors to gather and gain support and encouragement, she added. Confidentiality, Becker assured, is safeguarded. “NOVA’s trained facilitators have a keen understanding of participants’ need for confidentiality and security.”

Other ongoing services provided by the Office for Child and Youth Protection include outpatient counseling, reimbursement for psychiatric care and medications, rehabilitation and recovery programs, as well as financial assistance in emergency situations. Mileage reimbursement is offered and reasonable child care costs are covered so that inspaniduals may maintain scheduled outpatient care.

In the past year, the Victim Assistance Program served more than 100 inspaniduals, providing inpatient and outpatient trauma and recovery treatment, Becker said.

For general information about victim assistance and safe environment programs throughout the Archdiocese, contact the Office for Child and Youth Protection at 215-587-2466 or visit the web site

Victims of clergy sexual abuse are encouraged to call the dedicated toll-free line, 1-888-800-8780.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or