Inquiry into the Catholic Church (IICSA)

A report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has been published (10.11.20).

As a Church our role is to support the most vulnerable among us. There is no place for abuse in our society and the Church is no different.

Below you can find a response from Bishop John about this, as well as a statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Statement from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

The Catholic Church in England and Wales welcomes the Report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse relating to the institutional response of the Church in its duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

We thank the IICSA Panel for their work. The Report will now inform the ongoing reform and improvement of safeguarding in all aspects of the Church’s life.

An important aspect of the Inquiry’s work was the voice given to victims and survivors of abuse, including the accounts which they gave of their subsequent engagement with the Church. Listening attentively to their witness testimony has brought into sharp relief the extent of the damage this sexual abuse has had on their lives.

We apologise to all victims and survivors who have not been properly listened to, or properly supported by us. By listening with humility to those who have suffered, we can contribute to the healing of the wounds of abuse, as well as learn from those most directly affected how we must improve the Church’s safeguarding standards, policies and procedures.

This is an ongoing task and one to which we are wholly committed. Child sexual abuse is a crime. It is a crime that requires committed vigilance and strict procedures to ensure reporting to the statutory authorities. This is the Church’s policy. It is also why our safeguarding work needs to be continually reviewed and improved. Where there have been failings and inconsistency in the application of our safeguarding procedures, we acknowledge these and commit to actions which will bring about improvement.

Abuse is an evil act against the most vulnerable; it must never be excused or covered up. Abuse committed against children and the consequent damage to people’s lives cannot be undone. For this, we apologise without reservation, and we are committed to listen attentively to the voices of those who have been abused.

This report is an important moment in our safeguarding journey in the Catholic Church in our countries. It will now be considered in detail by us, the Bishops, at our Plenary Assembly beginning next week so we can explore how to integrate the findings of this important Inquiry into the life and work of the Church in order to consistently safeguard children and the vulnerable.

Vincent Cardinal Nichols
President

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP
Vice-President

A Message from Bishop John

As many of you may already be aware the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) have today published the Inquiry Report into the Catholic Church in England.

It is right that we speak openly of these abuses and that we come together to heal as a community. As a diocese we have made progress, but we must always be ready as a diocese to meet the challenges of the future. We must always strive to always place the protection of the young and the vulnerable at the heart of what we do.

Our involvement in the Healing Through Community project creates further opportunities for the Diocese to meet its responsibility of support and compassion to all its parishioners, wherever they are and where their abuse happened. The support on offer via our Healing Through Community project can be accessed by anyone living within the Diocese of Salford.

If you would like to access help please call Survivors Manchester on 0161 236 2182 or Greater Manchester Rape Crisis on 0161 273 4500.

The Safeguarding Office is also available for any safeguarding queries or referrals by all. Their number is 0161 817 2206.

Let us all join in prayer for the healing of those that have been hurt and abused by members of the Church.

https://www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/safeguarding/healing-through-community/

 


Read the Bishops’ Conference response on its website

You can read the full IICSA report here