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Monday, October 24, 2016
Irish Church brings out new child protection policy
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¬†The Catholic Church in Ireland unveiled its new child protection policy on Monday, which will involve parents and lay experts in child care, psychology, theology, law, academia, education and business. Speaking at the launch of Our Children, Our Church Veritas House, Dublin, the Archbishop of Armagh, and President of the Irish Episcopal Conference, Dr SeŠn Brady said: "We want children to feel that they have been treated at all times with the dignity, respect and care they deserve by the community of the Church. Indeed, a fundamental principle of Our Children, Our Church is that, in all decisions made and actions taken in response to allegations and suspicions of child abuse, the welfare of the child is paramount. While the rights of all parties in such a situation shall be respected, the welfare of the child should always be the first and paramount consideration. This principle is wholly consistent with the Gospel view that the child is at the heart of the kingdom of God. "A key factor in determining the effective implementation of Our Children, Our Church will be the creation by the Sponsoring Bodies of a National Board for Child Protection. This Board will be made up of parents and professionals from child care, psychology, theology, law, academia, education and business. It will have overall responsibility for ensuring that the Church's policies and procedures, as outlined in Our Children, Our Church, are implemented, monitored and publicised." Archbishop Brady continued: "Clearly, a critical role will be played by the Chair of this National Board. For that reason I am pleased to announce today that former Attorney General and Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable Mr Justice Anthony Hederman, has agreed to be the first chair of the National Board. We are all indebted to Mr Justice Hederman for his willingness to undertake this important role." "In the New Year we will have a separate launch of the Northern Ireland edition of the document. This edition will take account of the latest legislative and policy developments in Northern Ireland, notably in regard to the new vetting procedures known as POCVA, as well other legislative and policy differences which exist between the two jurisdictions." Sr Evelyn Greene, representing the Conference of Religious of Ireland, said at the launch: "Under Our Children, Our Church, the National Board will establish a single National Office for Child Protection to implement its policies and decisions. This of itself will bring a new level of coherence and consistency to the Church's policy in this area and is an expression of the commitment of the different elements of the Church's life and ministry to work collaboratively to ensure the safety and welfare of children within the Church. "Throughout the document the fundamental Gospel Principles which should underpin the work of child protection, and the response of the Church to child abuse, are highlighted." Also speaking at the launch, the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise and Chair of the Steering Group, Dr Colm O'Reilly, said: "Importantly, the National oard will publish national statistics in relation to child abuse involving Church personnel, thereby ensuring consistency of criteria for such statistics and providing further levels of transparency. "The National Board's Office for Child Protection will have a Chief Executive and supporting staff, and it will replace the two existing child protection offices operated by CORI and the Irish Episcopal Conference. "Critically, Our Children, Our Church ensures that the decision about to how to proceed with an allegation or suspicion of child abuse is made by a professionally qualified person with experience in this field rather than by the bishop or religious superior." For a history of the development of child protection in the Irish Catholic Church and other information see:
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