On Embargo 00.01am Friday October 6th, 2023: The Catholic Church, through the offices of the Irish Episcopal Conference (IEC) and the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI), has commissioned independent consultants, RSM Ireland, to undertake a Strategic Review of Child Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Ireland. This is an external review which will include, as an essential component, the voice of victims and survivors of abuse.
As part of the consultation process, the Review seeks the opinion of survivors as to whether the most effective and efficient structures and services are in place regarding child safeguarding across the Catholic Church’s ministries and services in Ireland. The Review will be making recommendations regarding potential improvements to ensure best practice will be provided.
The Review team therefore wishes to hear from people who were abused and who have disclosed that abuse in the last 20 years. This timeframe has been applied to the Review because the current safeguarding systems in the Church, which are the subject of this Review, have been in existence for up to 20 years*.
Specifically, the Review wishes to hear from survivors about their experiences of dealing with the Church after the abuse was disclosed; how the Church responded, what support was offered; and what their experience of going through these systems was like.
A multidisciplinary team has been assembled to undertake this consultation with survivors. It is comprised of acknowledged experts in child safeguarding policy and best practice, and includes Ranald Mair and Roisin McGoldrick, both of whom were part of the McLellan Commission looking at Safeguarding Policy and Practice for the Catholic Church in Scotland. Roisin and Ranald are both qualified Social Workers with extensive experience in relation to Child and Adult Protection.
Dr. Rachel Iredale, Consulting Director, RSM Ireland stated: “We are approaching this consultation comprehensively and sensitively but also with rigour and independence. That is the brief provided to us by the Irish Episcopal Conference and the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland, and we are committed to honouring that direction.”
Archbishop Eamon Martin, President of the Irish Episcopal Conference (IEC), said “Since the establishment of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, Church leaders have adopted a ‘One Church’ approach to safeguarding on the island of Ireland, with the aim of ensuring that the same standards and procedures apply across all dioceses and religious congregations. The IEC and AMRI recognise that the monitoring and evaluation of safeguarding processes, both internally and externally, is vitally important so that the most up to date best practice in safeguarding can be maintained.”
This element of the Review process commences today, Friday October 6th 2023, and will conclude on the November 6th 2023. Survivors who disclosed abuse in the last 20 years are asked to get in touch if they have an experience – good or bad – to share. The experience of those who have engaged with the existing systems will be invaluable in assessing the current processes and in identifying areas that may need improvement, to help ensure best practice in safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Ireland. For further information please contact Survivor.Consultation@rsmireland.ie
NOTES TO EDITORS
*Current Safeguards in the Catholic Church
About the Irish Episcopal Conference (IEC) and the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI)
The Irish Episcopal Conference (IEC) and the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI) are the leadership bodies for the Catholic Church in Ireland. The IEC, which is also sometimes referred to as the Irish Catholic Bishop’s Conference, is the assembly of the Bishops exercising together certain pastoral offices. AMRI represents and promotes active collaboration between Religious Institutes, Societies of Apostolic Life and Lay Missionary Organisations in Ireland. Ensuring the implementation of appropriate child safeguarding policies, procedures and processes is the responsibility of all Church leaders nationally and locally.
About RSM Ireland
RSM Ireland is the 8th largest accounting and advisory firm in Ireland. Established in 1987, it is one of the fastest growing firms in the country, serving domestic and globally active midmarket clients, as well as the public and not-for-profit sectors. RSM Ireland won Practice of the Year at the 2023 Irish Accountancy Awards.
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