14/04/2011 Policy launch for Child Safeguarding and Protection

14/04/2011 Policy launch for Child Safeguarding and Protection

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Press Release Thursday 14th April 2011

Archdiocese of Dublin launches Policy for Child Safeguarding and Protection

The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, together with the staff of the Child Safeguarding and Protection office (CSPS) today launched the Diocesan Policy for Child Safeguarding and Protecting children.

This Policy brings together a series of long established practices and procedures in the Archdiocese to safeguard children, in compliance the National Church policy “Safeguarding Children”.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said he was confident in the high standards operated in the Archdiocese, but there could adopted be no room for complacency regarding the protection of children. He paid particular tribute to people in parishes who had given of their time to volunteer as child safeguarding representatives. The Archbishop said this level of commitment was the best assurance that policies and procedures would not just languish on shelves but would be part and parcel of daily parish life.

At the launch in the Holy Cross Diocesan Centre in Dublin this afternoon, the Director of the Child Safeguarding and Protection Service, Andrew Fagan, who took up his role just over a year ago said he joined a service that at its core, valued the safety of children, respected survivors who came to it for support and recognised that those accused of abuse also required support and monitoring as part of any robust child protection policy. “I have been fortunate to have inherited from my predecessor a service in very good shape; staffed by a team of skilled professionals committed to the welfare and safety of children

Mr. Fagan said “Operating this service is not without difficult challenges. A core part of our work is to receive complaints from adults who were abused as children and to report those complaints to the Gardai and the HSE. It is our role to ensure and adequate and proportionate measures are taken to protect children pending the outcome of any criminal investigation or assessment of current risk to children by the HSE. Our procedures are designed to ensure that any priest in Dublin accused of abuse is treated fairly, but above all to ensure that any potential risk to children is minimized.

He added,” We want children to come to Mass, to serve on altars, to sing in choirs, to go on retreats and to be happy and safe as they do so. Many children in our Diocese participate in such activities. Our team works with staff and volunteers in parishes and Diocesan agencies to help them implement practices that create safe environments for children.”

At the launch the SCPS also outlined increases in the number of allegations made against priests since the publication of the Murphy Report. (See below)

Statistics published by the Service show that, to date, over 17,000 people have now participated in Garda Vetting throughout the Archdiocese that includes priests, parish workers, and agency and diocesan staff and parish volunteers.

Full details of the new document and speeches from the Policy launch this afternoon are available at dublindiocese.ie

Child Safeguarding and Protection Statistics Update April 2011

This statistics are an update on those last published in November 2009 on the publication of the Murphy report.

  • 2,500 volunteers in parishes have taken part in Safeguarding Children training programmes, run by the Archdiocese and licensed by the Volunteer Development Agency
  • Over 17,000 people, including priests, Diocesan staff agency staff, parish workers and volunteers have participated in Garda Vetting.
  • From the information currently available to the Diocese approximately 570 people have been identified who have either complained or are known or suspected to have suffered child sexual abuse by priests of the Diocese(an increase of 50 since November 2009)   
  • Allegations have been made against 93 priests of the Diocese ( an increase of 9 since November 2009)
  • Suspicions have been raised concerning 11 priests of the Diocese. (+2 since Nov ‘09)
  • Allegations have been made against 60 Religious priests or priests from other Dioceses who held an appointment in Dublin. (no change)
  • Allegations have been made against 9 Religious priests or priests from other Dioceses, which related to their doing supply in Dublin. (no change)
  • Suspicions have been raised concerning 4 Religious priests who held appointments in the Diocese. (no change)
  • These statistics record allegations made and suspicions raised to the Archdiocese not the eventual outcomes
  •         10 Dublin priests, or former priests, have been convicted or have cases pending in the criminal courts.  Two non-diocesan priests, who served in Dublin, have also been convicted in the criminal courts.
  • 172 civil actions have been taken against 44 priests of the Diocese; 117 have been concluded and 55 are ongoing.
  • The costs, so far, to the Archdiocese for settlement of claims regarding child sexual abuse by priests is currently at €13.5 million (€9.3 m in settlements and €4.2 m in legal costs for both sides).
  • These statistics date over a period of 70 years. Since 1940 over 1,350 Diocesan priests have served in Dublin and around 1,450 priests from Religious Congregations have held appointments from the Archbishop of Dublin. In addition, the number of priests who may have done supply ministry in Dublin in this period is unquantifiable but significant. Ends