This Review would seek to examine the current arrangements for safeguarding children across all Dioceses, Religious Congregations/Orders, and Missionary Societies in Ireland. It would also scrutinize practice within all known cases to ensure that they have been responded to appropriately.
This proposal to undertake such a Review follows directly from the findings of the Commission of Investigation into the Management of Child Abuse within the Archdiocese of Dublin.
The proposed Review would consider the following:-
(a) Policies in place and being applied for safeguarding children
(b) Current and past practice in relation to the management of allegations of abuse;
(c) Existing relationships with statutory authorities such as the HSE, Gardai in the Republic and the HSCT or PSNI in Northern Ireland.
(d) Operation of Advisory Panels, and Safeguarding Committees
(e) Current Risks, and their management
The objective of the Review would be to confirm how known allegations have been responded to and what the current arrangements for safeguarding children are. In particular, emphasis will be placed on establishing how practice matches up to the standards set down in the Safeguarding Children Guidance published by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church launched in February 2009. Priority, at all times, will be given to how practice can be improved and strengthened. If practices are identified that are concerning, inadequate, or dangerous, they will be addressed through the provision of guidance and support, and through the reporting of these situations to the appropriate statutory authorities, if this has not already happened. Similarly, those that are good examples will be highlighted with a view to them being adopted comprehensively across all parts of the Church. All cases that relate to alleged or known offenders that are alive will be read and included in the Review. In cases where the alleged or known offender is deceased, these will be sampled in an attempt to gather learning from them that will be used to inform the framing of recommendations.
The Review will be guided by the following:-
(a) Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance;
(b) Children First Guidelines in ROI; and Regional Child Protection Guidelines in Northern Ireland;
(c) Legislation that exists in each jurisdiction which contributes to safeguarding children and young people.
The Review will be undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children through their National Office and led by the Chief Executive Officer. They will look to strengthen their staff team as a matter of priority with additional suitably experienced personnel. An increase in their budget will be provided to enable them to recruit these extra staff members.
The Review process will be overseen by a Reference Group to whom the CEO will report on a regular basis. The membership of this Reference Group would be drawn from each of the statutory child protection agencies in both jurisdictions, along with eminent individuals in the field from academia, or from within related professions such as health or the law.
The Review of the different Church authorities will be approached on a phased basis. The dioceses will be divided into four regions which would approximately equate with the metropolitan areas. At the completion of the review of each region, reports outlining the findings and recommendations will be presented to each of the dioceses. It is proposed that each of these reports will be placed on the website of each of the dioceses along with the National Board for Safeguarding Children own website, namely www.safeguarding.ie. It is proposed that this shall happen simultaneously.
When all of the different parts of the Church have undergone the proposed Review process, the National Board will be asked to prepare and publish a composite report, outlining themes and key findings, along with general recommendations. The final report will comment on the overall standards of practice, and will also include recommended actions that are thought to be necessary to achieve improvements in practice or to address deficits in policy.
It is important to confirm that the value of the Review is dependent upon full and complete access to all relevant documentation and information relating to the abuse of children known to the individual Church authorities. The Review will proceed on the basis that willingness exists on the part of each of the subjects of the Review to provide full access to the fieldwork team, subject, where relevant, to the terms of the Data Processing Deed agreed between the Sponsoring Bodies and entered into between the parties hereto.
Chief Executive Officer, NBSCCC
List of Contents
(1) Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Catholic Church – Includes
- Terms of Reference
- Step Guide to the Review Process
- Methodology and Procedural Notes
(2) Recording Guidance
(3) Case File Template
(4) Checklist for Audit Case files