Latest abuse reports are expected to reveal further progress

The Church’s child protection watchdog will release the latest round of audits on how Church bodies are implementing robust procedures next week The Irish Catholic has learned.

The eighth tranche of national safeguarding reports is expected to be released next Wednesday. The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) is expected to make available 43 reports covering eight male orders and 35 female orders. 

It is believed that the reports point to better compliance with safeguarding requirements than was revealed in the last tranche of reports, issued in February, which caused Teresa Devlin, chief executive of the NBSCCCI, to express disappointment in how few of the larger orders reviewed had demonstrated good compliance with the national safeguarding standards.

As with the seventh tranche of reports, most interest is expected to be in the eight male orders, two of which The Irish Catholic understands received no abuse allegations. Among the eight orders, the reports from the Rosminians and Jesuits are likely to attract most attention, The Irish Catholic believes, followed by the Capuchins and Cistercians.

Fr Liam O’Connell SJ, assistant to the provincial of the Irish Jesuits, said the report on the Jesuits’ compliance with safeguarding procedures was “long, thorough, and good”. He said the Jesuits cooperated fully with the NBSCCCI, finding them “very professional”, but did not want no pre-empt the publication of the report. “We’re happy to let the report speak for itself,” he said.

The release should bring to 114 the number of reports published by the NBSCCCI, with the majority of congregations remaining to be reviewed being small female orders against whom no allegations have been made. 

A comparative analysis of diocesan reviews, published this May, revealed a high level of compliance and established that diocesan reviews have been conducted in a consistent and accurate fashion. 

A similar analysis will be drawn up for the religious orders next year.

The board intends to finish the review programme by the end of this year, before introducing a new streamlined set of standards incorporating care both for those making allegations of abuse and for those accused of abuse.