This is the fourth report on abuse in the Catholic Church. This report is different because it deals with a more recent timeframe and allegations of abuse were made when clear guidelines existed. Despite this, many reports were not investigated and there was a clear failure to share information and to hold individuals accountable. The Cloyne Report has found that child protection practices were ‘inadequate and in some respects dangerous’.
EPIC would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the need for Children First guidelines to be placed on a statutory footing. An important aspect of these guidelines includes the co-operation of agencies which inevitably raises the issue of sharing soft information. It is over ten years since the Children First Guidelines were first introduced and the Ryan Implementation Plan set December 2010 as the deadline for introducing legislation putting these on a statutory footing. EPIC therefore welcomes the news that Minister Fitzgerald has committed to prioritising the introduction of child production safeguards on a statutory footing; it cannot occur soon enough. However, this is only the first step. Robust child protection policies need to be enforceable and implemented. EPIC welcomes the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter’s announcement that he is introducing legislation to make it a criminal offence not to report the sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.
Increasing the accountability of people working with children should increase safeguards for children, but it is equally important that children are given the opportunity to speak out. Any allegation of abuse must be taken seriously, but children must be provided with the opportunities to disclose abuse and that means having reliable consistent adult figures in their lives. Recent reports, including the Ryan Report, clearly highlight the need for young people to have their voices heard. EPIC promotes opportunities for young people to have their voices heard in order to achieve safer and better practices.
Tel: 01 8727 661
Mob: 086 6073866
Advocacy and Policy Officer
Tel: 01 8727 661
Mob: 087 178 4251