What should I do if I have been a victim of abuse? What if someone I love has been a victim?


First, it was not your fault. Please know that you are not alone and there is help for you. You do have choices!


Second, please reach out for help and support. You do not have to go through this alone!


The following options listed below might help point you in the right direction. If you or a loved one has been a victim or clergy abuse, you do have options!


Note that states are different when it comes to things such as laws and statute of limitations so you will need to do some of your own research. Most numbers to call for help are available online. You can also find laws and information pertaining to statute of limitations. A child abuse hotline, your local Child Protective Services, your local police department, or a mental health counselor should also be able to help answer your questions. 


It’s also helpful to note that the statute of limitations laws (laws that set the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be started) also vary by state. Even if you think too much time has gone by since the abuse occurred, you can still report it! 


Some other steps you can take include:


  • File a police report with local law enforcement (or wherever the abuse occurred). 


  • Call your local Child Protective Agency or an abuse hotline. Child Help Hotline is one option. You can call or text 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or go to the website and chat with a live representative. 


  • If you are a victim of clergy abuse, report it to the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). The number for the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection is 202-541-5413. You can also report to the Victim Assistance Coordinator within the diocese.  In addition to reporting to the diocese where the abuse occurred, you can also report to any other locations you know the abuser has been located.


  • If the abuser was a bishop or if you believe a bishop has covered abuse, you can call The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) by calling (800) 276-1562 or visiting


  • If you are in fear of your abuser, look into getting a stay Civil No-Contact Order or a Civil Restraining Order. Contact your local law enforcement agency or courthouse for information about how to go about doing that. 


  • Seek out a trauma counselor or mental health professional who specializes in trauma or sexual assault as soon as possible. This is an important step for victims to get the help and support they need but it’s also important for those who are trying to support victims. There are resources online for obtaining a Catholic or Christian counselor if that is your preference. 


  • ​Trauma can have devastating consequences particularly in regard to personal wellness and safety. If you or a loved one is in severe distress and in danger of hurting themselves, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 















Here are some additional resources (click links for more information):

Find a Catholic therapist near you

Protection of Children and Young People: How to report clerical abuse

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute: this website offers information for survivors and their loved ones

The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake: information about trauma's correlation to substance abuse

Made in His Image: a non-profit organization that offers support to victims of eating disorders, depression, self-harm, or physical and/or sexual abuse

Ruth Institute: provides research and educational tools to support individuals and families affected by the consequences of the Sexual Revolution

Awake: their mission is to awaken the community to the full reality of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church

Tentmakers: a non-profit organization by the Peyton family offering assistance to victims in Louisiana.

Ask a Survivor: I answer the questions survivors and their loved ones may have as they search for hope and healing.

field website.jfif