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The cover of the US bishops’ safeguarding report (OSV News/USCCB)

The United States Catholic bishops’ latest annual safeguarding report shows abuse allegations are down, but guarding against complacency about abuse prevention is critical. Source: OSV News.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection released the “2023 Annual Report — Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” on May 28.

Data for the report came from audits conducted by consulting firm StoneBridge Business Partners. In addition, the report includes a 2023 survey by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate on allegations and costs related to the abuse of minors.

For the July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023, period, CARA’s report found a more than 51 per cent drop in historical allegations from those reported in the same period last year, from 2,704 in 2022 to 1,308 in 2023. The decrease was partly due to the resolution of allegations received as a result of lawsuits, said the report.

Another milestone was the full participation of all 196 dioceses and eparchies in the Charter audit, a 100 per cent response rate that was unprecedented. 

At the same time, “the number of new allegations from minors remained similar to the prior year, at 17,” wrote Suzanne Healy, chairwoman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, a lay-led group that advises the bishops on preventing sexual abuse of minors, in a February 21 letter to USCCB president Archbishop Timothy Broglio that was included in the report.

Ms Healy also cautioned against “charter fatigue or complacency” in addressing sexual abuse in the Church.

“Even as we move forward with progress, we must acknowledge that without ongoing diligence and commitment, there is the possibility that failures can happen and we must be ready to act if they do. … We must remain vigilant,” Ms Healy wrote.

“One new allegation is one too many.”


Abuse allegations down, but safe environment ‘fatigue’ a risk, warns annual bishops’ report (By Gina Christian, OSV News via NCR Online)