Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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Programs and Resources for Leaders

LCWR offers a variety of programs and other resources that assist women religious leaders to effectively carry out their service of leadership. These programs and resources are designed to equip leaders with skills for integrating their multi-dimensional roles of leadership: spiritual leader, administrator, visionary and change agent.

Responding to Allegations and Preventing Future Incidents of Sexual Abuse

In January 2005 LCWR, in collaboration with CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) designed, distributed, collected and interpreted an inventory to assess the preparedness of LCWR member congregations to address sexual abuse. The inventory, developed in conjunction with persons from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, including survivors of sexual abuse, looked at two questions:

  1. What policies, practices and procedures do LCWR member congregations have in place to address allegations of past member sexual misconduct?
  2. What policies, practices and procedures do LCWR member congregations have in place to prevent future sexual misconduct by members?

Seventy-six percent of congregations who received the 160 question inventory returned it - a very good return rate for a questionnaire or survey. The results showed that the vast majority of LCWR congregations have in place policies, practices and procedures for addressing past allegations of sexual abuse and for preventing further incidents of sexual abuse. The inventory also showed that there are some areas that also needed strengthening. In particular, the ongoing education of members was noted as an area for improvement.

After receiving the results of the CARA Study and the recommendations from the review committee, the LCWR National Board made two decisions:

  1. To re-issue the CARA study in 2008 in order to track the improvements made by LCWR and its member congregations, particularly (but not exclusively) in the area of ongoing education for members
  2. To offer members information about available opportunities and resources with the recommendation that congregations consider providing their members with ongoing education. These resources include written material, speakers, websites and AV materials that could be used for continuing education purposes.

LCWR and CARA reissued the study in 2008 in order to assist congregations in updating their policies and practices.