The Catholic bishops of Scotland have authorised an independent audit of every diocese in the country to ensure child protection procedures are as robust as possible. Source: Catholic Herald.
Baroness (Helen) Liddell of Coatdyke, chairman of the Independent Review Group of the Roman Catholic Church, said the bishops had “shown a willingness to submit their dioceses to the utmost scrutiny.”
She said that the audits were “a major undertaking, unique in Scotland,” but added that they were necessary because self-administered audits had given the review group “real cause for concern”.
“There was a willingness to meet basic compliance standards, but little evidence of the requirements of a safer culture,” she said in an email to CNS last week. “There was also no way to check the accuracy of the results, and a lack of clarity regarding the needs of, and support for, the victims of abuse.”
The baroness said there was “a need for greater consistency, independent analysis and professionalism in monitoring progress” and also a re-examination of the processes for whistleblowing.
“There needs to be a change in culture, in capacity, in capability, and that needs training, learning, reflection, the utmost transparency and it needs leadership,” Baroness Liddell said.
“We have found a willingness to adopt that change, but true progress can only come about as a result of deep analysis of strengths and weaknesses,” she said.
Two of the eight Scottish dioceses — the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh and the Diocese of Galloway — have already been audited, and the remainder will be audited at the rate of two a year, she added.
“We will also seek to reach out to survivors to learn from them,” Baroness Liddell said.
Her statement accompanied the publication of the review group’s first report on safeguarding practices and policies in the Church in Scotland.
Scottish bishops authorise major audit of each diocese (Catholic Herald)