The Catholic Church harassed victims of sexual abuse and coerced them into signing legal settlements, a Victorian inquiry has heard.

The parliamentary inquiry into sexual abuse within religious organisations heard personal accounts from a number of victims in Ballarat on Thursday.

Stephen Woods, who was bashed and molested by two Christian brothers in the 1970s, said private detectives hired by the church had called victims asking them if they were continuing with their complaints.

Mr Woods told the inquiry he had received such a call himself.

He said he threatened the caller before telling police.

"This is what happens when you go against an organisation such as the church. They harass you," Mr Woods said.

Another victim, Keith Whelan, said he had felt coerced into accepting a settlement under the church's Towards Healing program.

"(The process) was more about the church being seen to be doing something than about healing for me," he said.

Mr Whelan said he would have ongoing medical costs which would exceed the compensation paid to him.

The public hearing continues.