Catholic Church appoints independent abuse watchdog in Scotland to handle complaints against clergy members

The Scottish Sun [Glasgow, Scotland]

October 2, 2021

By Paul Drury

AN independent abuse watchdog is to be set up by the Catholic Church in Scotland to deal with complaints against members of the clergy. 

The move to establish a ‘Safeguarding Agency’ follows decades of clerical sex scandals, where the church has been accused of failing to deal with rogue priests who have preyed on members of their community. 

The church says the Scottish Catholic Safegarding Standards Agency will operate independently to produce ‘consistency, transparency and accountability’ within Catholic Church institutions in Scotland. 

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen, said: “The SCSSA will operate entirely independently of the Church and will have its own staff and Board of Management who will work in close collaboration with dioceses and religious communities to ensure that they are able to meet national safeguarding standards.  

“It will also develop a process that will provide an independent review of complaints about safeguarding practice and crucially, establish a forum in which those who have experienced abuse can contribute their own perspectives to the development of safeguarding.” 

The cleric added: “We will shortly commence the recruitment process for the Chair and members of the Board of Management, followed by the recruitment of a Director and a Head of Safeguarding Training.  

“It will take some time to establish the new agency and we ask for your patience and support while that process is underway.”  

Bishop Hugh concluded: “The Bishops ask for your prayers that the Holy Spirt will guide us in the selection of suitable candidates who will bring authority and credibility to the work of this new agency that will promote consistency, transparency and accountability across Catholic Church institutions in Scotland.”