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10 Nov 20 Back to Listing

IICSA publishes its report on the Roman Catholic Church

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published its report on the extent of institutional failings by the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales to protect children from sexual abuse.

The Inquiry heard evidence in respect of three cases on Ampleforth and Downside Abbeys and their respective schools, Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School, and the Archdiocese of Birmingham. The Inquiry considered amongst a range of issues, the responses by law enforcement agencies to allegations of abuse.

The Inquiry’s report (available here) concluded that the “response of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to allegations of child sexual abuse focussed too often on the protection of the clergy and the Church’s reputation. Some institutions and individuals in the Church failed to report allegations and concerns to police and statutory authorities as required. In some cases, members of the dioceses and religious institutes actively took steps to shelter and shield those accused of child sexual abuse. This was done at the expense of protection of children.”

The report makes seven recommendations, covering leadership and oversight on safeguarding matters, a framework for dealing with cases of non-compliance with safeguarding policies and procedures, re-framing canonical crimes relating to child sexual abuse, reviewing policies and procedures, and also a complaints policy for safeguarding cases. The Inquiry proposes to explore further matters, including mandatory reporting.

Samantha Leek QC and Jonathan Dixey appeared on behalf of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

Alan Payne QC appeared on behalf of the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police.

Alison Hewitt appeared on behalf of the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.