Irish church sets up commission on child abuse

 At a press conference in Dublin yesterday, it was announced that Judge Gillian Hussey would chair a new and fully independent Catholic Church Commission on Child Sexual Abuse. The new commission is being established jointly by the Irish Bishops' Conference, the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI) and the Irish Missionary Union (IMU). In a statement the Bishops Conference said the purpose of the Commission is to establish the truth about the extent of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland, and the response of church authorities to complaints of such abuse. The commission will conduct an independent 'audit' as part of its overall review. The principal terms of reference of the commission are as follows: *To examine what the bishop of each diocese and the religious superior of each participating religious congregation knew about complaints of child sexual abuse respectively against diocesan priests and religious and to identify the steps taken by each in response to that knowledge *To quantify the extent of child sexual abuse by priests and religious and the responses made by bishops and religious superiors *To examine how bishops and religious superiors have implemented the 1996 Guidelines in dioceses or congregations generally, in responding to each specific complaint made subsequent to January 1996 and, as appropriate, in relation to complaints received in previous years *To learn how people who suffered as a result of child sexual abuse have experienced the response of church authorities to their complaints *To make recommendations The independent commission will be chaired by Judge Gillian Hussey. The commission will comprise up to seven members, including the chairperson, with expertise in all relevant disciplines. The additional members of the commission will be appointed by Judge Gillian Hussey. The independent commission will be formally established in independent offices in Dublin on 2 September 2002. It will produce an interim report by 28 February 2003 and a final report by 29 February 2004. The commission will adopt its own methodology, and will delegate to external consultants such of its functions as it considers necessary. source: Irish Bishops Conference

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