Victim Advocacy

osep pope francis image.pngThe Victim Advocacy Group (VAG) was established in 2003 to assist those who have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon or any other church personnel of the Diocese of Burlington. It also offers outreach services to family members of survivors as well as to parishes. The VAG’s mission is to provide timely assistance, counseling referrals and support through the reporting process.

To contact, call: 1-866-485-2488

Victim Advocacy Group Members
Kevin Scully, Director of Safe Environments
Msgr. John McDermott, Chancellor


In response to the needs of the community at large, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington in conjunction with Vermont Catholic Charities initiated “listening sessions” which gave the public the opportunity to call in and express their concerns over the breaking sexual abuse scandal that hit the Catholic Church in 2002. These sessions were very successful and enabled the diocese to ascertain the needs of the diocesan community.

At that same time, dioceses around the country were going through similar experiences. In response the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Dallas and authored the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which calls for each diocese to follow its guidelines in establishing safe environment programs for the prevention of sexual abuse of children. In enacting these guidelines, national meetings were held where all dioceses could send a representative to establish policies and procedures for the enactment of the Charter for the Protection of Childre and Young People.

The Diocese of Burlington established the VAG in order to assist any member of the community who needs to report any incident of abuse.


National Efforts to Prevent Abuse and Raise Awareness 

April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States. During this month, and throughout the entire year, we remember those who are victims of abuse and neglect. We also reaffirm our sacred mission to protect those who are most vulnerable among us. As a community of Catholics, we use this month as an opportunity to learn even more about abuse and neglect so that we can be powerful advocates for God’s children as we engage in our respective ministries. This month-long observance also reminds us all of our collective responsibility take actions and make choices that help create safe environments in our Diocese.

In April 2016, four Evening Prayer of the Night services will be held in four locations throughout the Diocese of Burlington in remembrance of victims of abuse and neglect. Each service will take place in a different region of the state in order to afford everyone the opportunity to attend an accessible service.


When: All four services are on Tuesday, April 26 at 7:00 PM



1.  Burlington, VT – St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish.
2.  Newport, VT – St. Mary, Star of the Sea.
3.  Bennington, VT – Sacred Heart/St. Francis de Sales Parish.
4.  White River Junction, VT – St. Anthony Parish.    


All are welcome to attend as we come together with a communal mission of supporting the victims of abuse and neglect.    

A Rosary Guide for Healing Victims of Abuse

  “This rosary will help you to lift up these needs in prayer, offering them to God through Mary who offers her loving and protection to all her children.”

Watch the latest video from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) regarding the Catholic Church’s history of efforts to prevent abuse and raise awareness: