On July 17, Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ and Dr. Heather Banis presented our 2024 Distinguished Lecture entitled “Safety & Safeguarding as a Process”. Several hundred people from around the world registered for this fascinating talk which can be viewed by clicking below.

About Fr Zollner

A German Jesuit and alumnus of the Gregorian, Fr. Hans Zollner, SJ has been the founder and Director of the IADC since 2012. He was the Academic Vice Rector and Director of the Institute of Psychology from 2010-2019. He was a founding member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, serving from 2014-2023, and is a consultor of the Congregation for Clergy and member of the Safeguarding Commission of the Diocese of Rome. Experience with victim-survivors, academics, and professionals has shaped his approach to educating the next generation of leaders in the field of safeguarding. Fr. Zollner has a doctoral degree in theology, is a psychologist and licensed psychotherapist.


About the IADC

The Institute of Anthropology (formerly the Centre for Child Protection) of the Pontifical Gregorian University is committed to increasing awareness of the dignity of the human person, promoting interdisciplinary knowledge and research on human dignity and training people specialized in the application of measures for its care and protection, as well as in the creation of healthy relationships and environments. The Institute understands this commitment as a contribution to the formation of women and men “for others,” especially for persons whose dignity has been wounded and for those whose dignity needs special care. iadc.unigre.it


About Dr Banis

Dr. Heather Banis is a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma, particularly in children’s lives. A graduate of Occidental College she went on to earn her Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and in 2019 completed a master’s degree, in Theology and Leadership, from Gonzaga University. While teaching at Occidental College, she began working with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in Victims Assistance Ministry as a consultant. Since 2016, she has been that ministry’s coordinator. Dr. Banis is the past Board Chair of the Board of Directors at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center and McKinley Children’s Center. A frequent public speaker, Dr. Banis was honored to speak at the USCCB General Assembly in November 2018, addressing all the Bishops from the United States regarding their pivotal role in responding to victims of clergy sexual abuse, and, to her esteemed colleagues on the subject off Radical Accompaniment and the Vocation of Victims Assistance Ministry, at the annual Child and Youth Protection Catholic Leadership Conference in Tulsa in June 2021. In 2022, she spoke to the clergy in the Archdiocese of Seattle on Sacred Spaces, Sacred Stories; in 2023, she spoke at the Canon Law Society Annual Meeting, Sacred Stories and Those Who Tell Them, focusing on trauma-sensitivity in ministry, and most recently, in 2024, she spoke at St. Paul University’s Center for Safeguarding Minors and Vulnerable Persons international conference in Ottawa on the topic Original Grace: A Generative Narrative for Healing. Theology in a Post-Traumatic Church, edited by Dr. John Sheveland, contains a chapter by Dr. Banis entitled “Resiliency, Hope, Healing: Victims Assistance Ministry in a Trauma-Sensitive Theological Context.” The book was recently honored by the Catholic Media Association with a Second Place Award in the category of Life and Dignity of Human Person. Since 2021 Dr. Banis has served as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and as a member of the North American Continent Working Group of the International Safeguarding Committee.

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