There was an article recently in Church Militant about how the Dioceses of Buffalo is dealing with claims coming into it because of the Statute of Limitation window legislation in New York. In short, it is having to deal with a lot of claims and, if the article is correct (and we don’t know one way or the other), they are not responding as well as they themselves might like.
A caveat; Church Militant isn’t known for playing nice with the Catholic Church, so the article is unfavorable.
Our interest in the article is limited to its description of the frustrating and impersonal response one complainant said they had after using an automated claim management system.
We have no idea about the merits of the system but when a complainant is left feeling like, and publicly claiming that they are being gaslighted by the people they are claiming against – as this complainant did – there is self-evidently something not right about the response.
If the article is accurate about the underlying facts – and we just don’t know one way or the other – this is a good example of how not to respond to an allegation of sexual abuse, even if (and maybe particularly if) you are dealing with many allegations.
Technology can be a great servant but it can also be impersonal and reinforce suggestions that an organization doesn’t care about victims of sexual abuse. This example reinforces the importance of ensuring decisions about response processes being consistent with an organization’s values are just as important as the content of the decisions themselves.