July 25, 2008

New archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator appointed

By Sean Gallagher

Jan Link has been appointed the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ new Victim Assistance Coordinator.

Link succeeds Suzanne Yakimchick who retired last month. Link will coordinate the archdiocese’s response to provide emotional and spiritual support for victims of sexual abuse by clergy, religious, paid lay staff or volunteers in the parishes, schools and agencies of the Church in central and southern Indiana.

Link currently works in community mental health in central Indiana.

“I am happy that Jan Link has agreed to take on this position,” said Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general. “Jan is a professional who has experience in assisting people who have suffered abuse.

“Having formerly worked with Catholic Social Services, Jan is also familiar with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and our repeated willingness to reach out and assist all who come to us in need.”

Msgr. Schaedel said that, since Link is an outside professional counselor who is being contracted by the archdiocese to provide pastoral care to abuse victims, she will be able to offer victims even more assurance that their claims are being handled objectively.

A social worker for 25 years, Link previously worked from 1986 to 2004 in the archdiocese for what was then Catholic Social Services. During that time, she served as a school-based social worker, did parish outreach and was a family counselor.

“I started out in my career working with adolescents who were physically and sexually abused,” Link said. “And part of the time that I was with the archdiocese, a huge number of the people that we served were sexually abused. So part of the ministry of Catholic Social Services was to help bring healing to people who were victims of abuse. At that time, it was mostly abuse in their own families.”

When victims report abuse to the archdiocese, Link will meet with them and work to arrange for therapy for them.

“What you want to do is to allow them to speak their experience and then see what help they need,” Link said. “It’s an honor … to hear people’s stories and to bring healing to people who have been victimized.”

Victims of sexual abuse in archdiocesan parishes, schools and agencies should call Link at 317-236-1548 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1548. She may also be reached by e-mail at jlink@archindy.org. For more information about the archdiocese’s sexual misconduct policies, log on to www.archindy.org/abuse. †

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