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Dioceses Making Good Progress, Congregations Slower

12th May 2014
The fifth Tranche of the review of Safeguarding practice across the Catholic Church were released today. The review was carried out by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCCI) for the Arch Diocese of Dublin, the Diocese of Meath, Cloyne and Killaloe. The review also includes The Religious Congregations of the Presentation Brothers, the Patrician Brothers, Benedictine, Glenstal and the Missionary Societies of the Columban Missionaries and the Society of Divine Word. This brings the total of Church authorities reviewed to date by this process to 37 (26 Dioceses and 11 Religious Congregations/Missionary Societies).
“All Dioceses are making very good progress in adhering to the Board’s Standard,” said Teresa Devlin, CEO, NBSCCCI. “For the Religious Congregations and Missionary Societies, progress appears slower. There has been a sea change in that all are now conscious of their obligations around reporting, unfortunately in 2 cases (1 Congregation) we saw that priests continued in ministry even though admissions were made and in another Order cases against deceased brothers, former brothers and lay teachers were not always notified to the Gardaí.”
The reports did note that reporting to the civil authorities in relation to allegations against living priests and brothers is now very prompt but the delays in the past are acknowledged. They also pointed to inconsistency in support for complainants in some Dioceses and Orders with some excellent, while others require improvements to ensure a systematic compassionate response.
Having completed the audits of all of the Dioceses and a number of congregations it is possible to identify some of the major patterns emerging:

  •  Offences largely took place between 1940 -2000, with a decline in notified offending behaviour after 2000; however there is still a need for vigilance and constant oversight and prompt action as noted in the conviction of a priest who abused children up until 2011.
  •  Some priests in particular abused very quickly after ordination, which leads to questions about formation.
  •  A number of the abusers were charismatic priests, who were popular among people.
  •  Some abusers had other addictive problems such as alcohol addiction.

“This process is overseen by a Reference group made up of Dr Helen Buckley, TCD; Paul Harrison, HSE and John Toner, independent consultant and chair of safeguarding trust boards in Northern Ireland,” said Devlin. “That ensures that all comments contained in the report are based on evidence and represents a fair assessment of the fieldwork findings. In other words it is in place to ensure the NBSCCCI conducts the reviews properly.”
NBSCCCI would also encourage anyone who has suffered abuse to contact Towards Healing. A counselling and support service for survivors of clerical and religious abuse, funded by the Catholic Church. Contact Towards Healing (ROI) 1800303416, (NI) 08000963315,
END For further Information please contact Ger Kenny 0872488393

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