Church body warns of legal barriers to addressing abuse failings

The Irish Times

June 27, 2018

By Jack Power

Safeguarding board told Government it had no central database of priests facing allegations

The Catholic Church’s child protection watchdog has said legal barriers are preventing it from addressing “serious and widespread” failings in how some allegations of clerical sexual abuse are handled.

Data protection concerns are preventing the National Board for Safeguarding Children from keeping a central database of priests who are facing child abuse allegations, with potentially “devastating consequences for children”, the organisation’s board told the Department of Justice in April.

The problem was creating a “very serious deficiency” in the system set up to prevent clerical sex abuse, the board said, according to correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Citing data protection concerns, some dioceses and orders are not sharing identifying information about alleged abusers with the board, or between each other, which creates a “significant obstacle” in ensuring safeguarding standards, the board told the department.

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