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PRESS RELEASE: L’Arche releases independent report into the abusive practices of founder Jean Vanier

Investigation answers L’Arche’s questions about founder’s abuse.

Montreal, January 30, 2023—Today, L’Arche International released a years-long report from an independent, interdisciplinary commission of French researchers which validates the testimonies of 25 women, without intellectual disabilities, against Jean Vanier who, as part of a sectarian group led by Vanier’s spiritual mentor, Father Thomas Philippe, identified people seeking spiritual guidance and exploited them for sexual purposes.

L’Arche Canada welcomes the efforts of L’Arche International and stands behind the detailed report into the abusive and manipulative practices by Vanier and Phillippe that were first reported in February 2020. We want to thank the women who courageously came forward. We stand with them and others who have suffered abuse.

The Commission found no evidence of abuse involving people with intellectual disabilities. It found no evidence that the “hidden sect” and its abusive practices had spread in L’Arche beyond the narrow circle based in Trosly, France. The report also confirms that these practices were not known outside of this circle.

Click here to read the Press Release from L’Arche International.

Click here to visit the website of the Study Commission and read the report.

Since 2017, L’Arche has invested significantly in safeguarding for people with and without disabilities. In Canada, there are robust safeguarding practices in each L’Arche community. Since 2020, L’Arche Canada has developed and integrated into its website a mechanism to report abuse, and abuse training is mandatory for all employees, volunteers and people with disabilities in L’Arche.


Additional Resources

L’Arche International Press Release, February 2020

Media Contacts

Warren Pot
National Communications Director

Louis Pilotte
National Executive Director

Lori Vaanholt
National Vice Executive Director

About L’Arche Canada

Across Canada and around the world, L’Arche creates communities of friendship and belonging. In L’Arche, people with and without intellectual disabilities live, work, learn, and grow together. L’Arche demonstrates that when persons with intellectual disabilities take their place at the table, they contribute to a more just, compassionate, and vibrant world for all.

The beauty and diversity of Canada shine through in L’Arche Canada’s 28 communities and two projects. Spread across the country, from East to West coasts, our communities are integrated into small and large urban centres. While a few communities are bilingual, most are either English or French speaking.

L’Arche Canada is recognized as taking a leading role in the movement for belonging and inclusion and is collaborating with a broad range of partners. We believe communities that embrace diverse identities and offer a variety of opportunities are our best hope for building a more just and human society where each person can contribute their gifts.