The number of Dublin priests, against whom an allegation of child sexual abuse has been recorded, has not increased in the past year.
This is the first time this figure has remained static since the Archdiocese began publishing annual updates almost 8 years ago.
This year, the Child Safeguarding and Protection Service (CSPS) will acknowledge the work of hundreds of volunteers who received training and who are responsible for implementing safeguarding procedures in a special Diocesan Safeguarding Day. This is to recognise the crucial work carried out by these women and men in helping maintain a safe environment for children in the life of the Church in Dublin.
This year also saw the setting up of a new Diocesan Safeguarding Committee. This voluntary group of lay and religious men and women with relevant expertise, supports guides and enhances the work of the Diocese, its parishes, offices and agencies in promoting good safeguarding practices.
Within the past 12 months the Service also began the distribution of a regular newsletter to all 199 parishes and groups working in the Archdiocese, keeping them updated on new developments and events.
The Diocesan Director for Child Safeguarding and Protection, Andrew Fagan, said they are arriving, albeit slowly, at a position where the Service has a fuller picture of what happened in the past. He said that while there has been a fall off in the number of allegations against men not previously known to them, this must not lead to complacency. “We continue to monitor those who could pose a risk to children and we must remain steadfast and focussed on Safeguarding to ensure that the risk to children participating in church life today is minimal”.
Andrew Fagan said, “Our knowledge and awareness of what happened increases when people find the courage to come forward and report. This is vital in ensuring the person abused gets proper support and that abusers face the full rigours of the criminal justice system. It also greatly increases our knowledge and understanding of what happened in the past and helps inform and improve safeguarding practices today.”
Since last year’s publication of statistics:
- Another 900 people participated in training and information sessions for the safeguarding of children in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
- The number of priests, bishops, parish workers, Diocesan staff and ancillary staff in schools who have participated in Garda vetting increased by 6,300 to 32,600
- No allegation of child abuse was reported against a priest of the Archdiocese who was not already the subject of a complaint. The total number of priests against whom an allegation of child sexual abuse has been recorded remains at 98.[i] This relates to a period of over 70 years.
- In the past 12 months a suspicion of child abuse was raised against 2 priests (1 deceased) of the Archdiocese who were not previously the subject of complaints.
- 216 civil actions have been taken against 49 priests and former priests of the Archdiocese. 161 have been concluded and 55 are ongoing.
- The costs, so far, to the Archdiocese of settlement of claims regarding child sexual abuse by priests is currently at €17.9 million ( €12.5m in settlements and €5.4 in legal costs for both sides)
- 11 priests or former priests of the Archdiocese have been convicted in the criminal courts.
Nearly four years on since the publication of the Murphy report, the Diocese still receives information on abuse carried out by men who were serial abusers of children (who are already known to the Gardai and the CSPS). Any new information received by the Service is shared with the civil Authorities and the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.
Notes to Editors:
The Child Safeguarding and Protection Service promote the safe care of children involved in Church activities throughout the Archdiocese. It does this by:
- Providing training for priests and parish workers in safeguarding and child protection.
- Dealing with complaints and concerns about child protection matters, reporting to the civil authorities and advising the Archbishop on any protective measures necessary to protect children from abuse
- Monitoring the activities of priests known to have abused children in the past in order to minimise the chance of them doing so again.
- The service provides pastoral outreach and support for those who have experienced abuse by priests or parish workers.
News, advice and updates from the CSPS are available on www.csps.dublindiocese.ie
Further Information: Annette O Donnell 087 8143462
[i] The Archdiocese of Dublin records allegations of abuse received, regardless of any outcomes following investigation and reporting.