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Saturday, October 1, 2016
Commission report urges 'One Church' approach for tackling abuse
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¬†The independent body charged with reviewing progress by the Catholic Church in tackling abuse of children and vulnerable adults publishes its report, Safeguarding With Confidence, today (Monday 16 July 2007). The Cumberlege Commission urges the Bishops and Leaders of the Religious Congregations to reaffirm their commitment to a One Church approach and to ensure that there is one set of policies adopted by the whole church. The Commission would also like to see them take a more central leadership role in safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Cumberlege Commission's report makes a total of 72 recommendations, including: * Setting up a new National Safeguarding Commission within the Church. The NSC should have an independent chairman and transparent processes in order to provide a proper forum for debate. The new body should also take on responsibility for ensuring that national policies are followed. * Changing the focus of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults' (COPCA) work and giving it greater emphasis on raising awareness and on identifying and sharing good practice. The report recommends changing the central unit's name to the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service to reflect this. It also proposes changing the unit's management and accountability so that it is genuinely a part of the Church's mainstream work. * Much more focus on safeguarding vulnerable adults, but not at the expense of safeguarding children * Reforming and strengthening the Church's procedures for investigating and managing allegations of abuse, including introducing the opportunity for review to ensure the process fits with the Church's universal laws and natural justice. The goal is to achieve a quicker, efficient, more transparent process that serves the victims of abuse and those accused of abuse. * A special Canon Law for England and Wales so that the Church's safeguarding rules for children and vulnerable adults have full juridical authority and so that there is a right of recourse to the Holy See against a diocese or religious congregation which fails to fulfill its obligations laid down by this law. The Commission, chaired by Baroness Cumberlege, follows on from Lord Nolan's independent review of child protection in the Catholic Church and his 2001 report, A Programme for Action, in which he called for a review after five years. The Cumberlege Commission's terms of reference were to: * Review the implementation of the Nolan Report A Programme for Action both nationally and locally in the dioceses and religious congregations. * Make any recommendations for change taking account of statutory and good practice developments since the publication of the Nolan review. * Consider the role of the central office (COPCA) in delivering these and any outstanding Nolan recommendations. The Cumberlege Commission was set up in July 2006 and a total of 290 organisations and individuals submitted evidence. There have been 23 oral evidence sessions and the Commission also heard from or visited each of the 22 diocesan and four regional religious congregation child protection commissions. Commenting on the publication of the report, Baroness Cumberlege says: "There is no doubt that much progress has been made since Lord Nolan reported in 2001. The Catholic Church is a safer place thanks to the endeavours and commitment of so many for whom safeguarding children and vulnerable adults matters. What we need now is a sustained effort down to parish and community level - where children and vulnerable adults live ≠ to ensure excellent safeguarding practices are applied consistently everywhere. "The prime motivation for this report is that in the future the Catholic Church is confident in carrying out Christ's work and is not fearful that the organisation lacks the ability to cope with those who fail. There can be no going back to a pre-2001 mindset; no relinquishing of the values implicit in Lord Nolan's "A Programme for Action"; no reversing of the thrust of the work in this area. "We urge the Bishops and Leaders of the Religious Congregations to reaffirm their commitment to a One Church approach and to ensure that there is one set of policies adopted by the whole church. We would like to see them take a more central leadership role in safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults. We are recommending the setting up of a new National Safeguarding Commission at the very heart of the organisation, which will place them firmly in the driving seat." Source: Cumberlege Commission To read the full report see: http://www.cumberlegecommission.org.uk/
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