New Guidelines in India Promise Better Institutional Response to Sexual Harassment and Abuse in the Catholic Church
Catholic parishes and institutions around India are in the process of implementing a set of “Guidelines to Deal with Sexual Harassment at the Workplace,” mandated by the bishops’ conference in response to increasing pressure for the hierarchy to address sexual abuse cases involving priests. The guidelines require that each Catholic institution’s internal committee should be at least 50 percent women and include a representative from a nongovernmental organization who is trained in issues related to sexual harassment. The policy also extends its protections to transgender people, recognizing such individuals as possible victims of sexual abuse and recommending a transgender individual oversee investigations of complaints brought by transgender alleged victims. Sister Jessy Kurian, a Catholic nun and advocate before the Indian Supreme Court, described the guidelines as “a boost to women in the Catholic institutions” of India.