Release of Grand Jury Report presents new challenges to victims involved

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The long-awaited Grand Jury report for the Harrisburg diocese child sex abuse case has finally been released.

Something Kristen Houser with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape says may help give some victims involved some a peace of mind.

“When you finally have the opportunity to name what was done to you, name the people responsible and have it vindicated by a grand jury  who says we believe these things happened, and we believe these people did these things to you, it’s like you’re waiting for it’s like you’re waiting for all this weight to be lifted off your shoulders that you’ve been carrying with you for decades," said Kristen Houser, Spokesperson, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

While the release of the report could possibly bring a sense of closure, Houser says it can also open up new challenges for others.

“We know that victims often may still be worried about dealing with harassment and fallout and and feeling vulnerable that people know what happened to them," said Houser.

“For some people, this can actually open up a period of time of additional strife because suddenly your story with the names attached will be known in your community and other people may not respond appropriately," added Houser.

Which is why in addition to having each abusers names released, some victims will also need continued counseling, along with community support.

"Just being able to talk to somebody and hear that what you’ve gone through is normal what you’re feeling right now is normal is really important because it can bring back those feelings of helplessness and shame and some of those things you felt as a child so this can be evocative for many many," said Houser.

Angela Liddle, who runs Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance tells FOX43 she believes institutions should be trained to recognize the signs of abuse and have policy and procedures to report it.

“There are churches across many faiths that are resistant to having anyone come in and do training on this subject matter," said Angela Liddle,  President & CEO at Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance.

"We really need to focus on what do we do now and how do we make sure as people who sit in the pews, who take communion, who go to mass, that we are really involved and connected with an organization that is doing exactly what they profess," added Liddle.

If you've been a victim of clergy sex abuse, call: 1-888-538-8541.
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