Catholic Church Denies Ignoring Recommendations from Report into Abuse Allegations

By Lucinda Cameron
Daily Record
November 4, 2016

Dr Andrew McLellan CBE gives details of the McLellan Commission report.

THE Catholic Church in Scotland has denied suggestions that it is not implementing recommendations made in a report into allegations of abuse.

A commission led by the Very Rev Andrew McLellan made a raft of recommendations in August last year, including that justice must be done for those who have been abused, and the church's safeguarding policies and practices are rewritten and subject to external scrutiny.

But in a letter sent to the Bishops' Conference, Dr McLellan said the bishops are "appearing to ignore" the recommendations of the report.

He said he believes the recommendation to put survivors first and introduce an independent element into safeguarding within the church has not happened.

He also suggested that it appears the recommendation to be transparent and open in safeguarding has not been met.

He wrote: "A year ago, the bishops might have used the opportunity of the publication of the report to introduce systemic reform; now they are in danger of confirming the worst fears of survivors and observers by appearing to ignore its recommendations.

"The one response the bishops must not make now is to say that things are being done 'behind the scenes'. That response would reveal that they have not understood the problem."

However the assistant general-secretary of the Bishops' Conference has rejected claims that the recommendations are not being implemented.

Fr Tom Boyle said: "Last August the Bishops' Conference welcomed the McLellan Commission Report and accepted its recommendations in full, undertaking to implement them all. This commitment has not diminished in any way, every recommendation will be implemented."

He said that three months after the publication of the report, the bishops published a detailed implementation plan, describing how all of the recommendations would be acted upon. The plan was posted online and open to consultation and comment.

An independent review group as recommended by the Commission is also being established, he said.

He added: "Transparency and openness are at the heart of the Church's safeguarding mission. We do not believe any other church, charity or public body in Scotland publishes detailed annual audits nor have any undertaken a public consultation, as the Bishops' Conference did on its implementation plan.

"In releasing his report last year, Dr McLellan described the bishops' decision to ask a minister of the Church of Scotland to carry out this review as demonstrating 'ecumenical trust' and 'generosity of spirit', since the Church allowed Dr McLellan two years to write his recommendations without comment, it is to be hoped that in the same spirit of trust and generosity of spirit, the Church will be given at least the same amount of time to implement them."

A National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Scotland spokesman said: "We know that the impact of child sexual abuse can be devastating and last a lifetime but also that there are many barriers which stop children and adults coming forward when they have been victims.

"When survivors do take the incredibly brave and painful step of coming forward, it is vital that they can have confidence that they will be taken seriously and action will be taken."








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