Safeguarding and Child Protection Service
“Each child should be cherished and affirmed as a gift from God with an inherent right to dignity of life and bodily integrity which shall be respected, nurtured and protected by all.”
The National Board for Safeguarding Children - Standards & Guidance Document 2008
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- Diocesan Child Protection Measures
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- Review of Safeguarding Practice in the Diocese of Limerick undertaken by NBSCCCI
- Press Release by Limerick Diocese on review by NBSCCCI - 5th September 2012
- Statement by retired the Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray
- Press release: Towards Healing 5 September 2012
Local Radio interviews.
Fr Tony Mullins and Ger Crowley gave two local radio interviews which you might like to listen back to. We thank those involved for permission to share these here:
- Limericks Live 95 fm. Broadcast Thursday, 6th September. Listen back HERE
- Sacred Space 102fm. Broadcast Sunday, September 16th. Read more HERE and listen HERE
Limerick Diocese values and encourages the participation of children in the life of the Church and is committed to best practice, which protects children from harm and abuse. Staff, volunteers, clergy and religious in this Diocese accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm. These responsibilities include:
- Adopting best practice safeguarding children guidelines in accordance with the standards named in the National Board for Safeguarding Children Standards & Guidance Document.
- Ensuring that children will be listened to and heard.
- Sharing information about safeguarding children and good practice with children, parents, staff, volunteers, clergy and religious.
- Sharing information about concerns with the relevant agencies and involving parents and children appropriately.
- Carefully following the procedures for recruiting, training and managing staff and volunteers, clergy and religious.
- Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
- Being committed to reviewing our policy and good practice procedures on an annual basis.
Limerick Diocese welcomes Child Safeguarding report and urges anybody who has been abused to come forward
- NBSCCCI report finds that 44 out of 48 criteria fully met in Diocese, with remaining four partially met
- Most striking aspect for reviewers was the ‘competence of personnel involved in both case management and safeguarding in Limerick’
The Diocese of Limerick has today published the review by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) of the Safeguarding Practice in the diocese and welcomes its findings.
The report – one of seven such reports published today in relation to four dioceses and three congregations - follows a full review in March of this year of case-files in the Diocese as well as interviews with key personnel involved in safeguarding children.
The review of child safeguarding policy by the NBSCCCI was initiated at the request of Diocesan Administrator Fr Tony Mullins and its aims were to determine if current safeguarding practice complies with the standards set out by the NBSCCCI and if all known allegations and concerns have been dealt with appropriately.
The audit dealt with complaints received from 1975 to the present. Some complaints refer back to the 1940s. Since 1940 over 500 hundred priests ministered in the Diocese; 26 of these were the subject of complaints (18 were priests of the Limerick Diocese).
The safeguarding practices in the Diocese were assessed against seven national standards and 48 criteria. The Report found that 44 out of 48 criteria have been fully met, the remaining four are partially met. All allegations received by the Diocese have been reported to the statutory authorities.
The review is one of the key developments in an ongoing process of enhancing child safeguarding standards in the diocese, initiated by Bishop Donal Murray following his appointment in 1996 and the introduction of the first Church guidelines. Responding to the report Fr Mullins said that the immediate thoughts of the Diocese and wider Catholic Church in Ireland on its publication today must be with all victims of clerical abuse, anywhere:
“Our first thoughts on the publication of reports must be with all victims of clerical abuse. Abuse of children is reprehensible and there are no words that can adequately express the depth of pain endured by people who have been sexually abused.
“The Catholic community has been profoundly affected by the many disclosures of abuse in recent years by religious personnel and moreover by the enormous damage that this caused to the lives of children. Failure to respond to concerns regarding abuse is unacceptable and the Church must continue to apologise again and again for this.
“While our thoughts and prayers are today with the survivors of abuse, we would also reiterate the need for anyone who is aware of abuse perpetrated by clergy to come forward and notify us and the civil authorities immediately. At our end, we have a dedicated phone-line (087 3233564) to handle any complaints and are fully confident, as supported by this report, that the proper processes are in place to deal with any complaints sensitively and with certainty of prompt referral to statutory authorities.”
Fr Mullins said that while the reviewers have been satisfied with the Limerick Diocese’s child safeguarding standards today, historical practices in the Diocese prior to Bishop Murray’s appointment were not adequate and, in one case, potentially dangerous. “We have done, and will continue to do, all we possibly can to ensure current child safeguarding standards are maintained in order to prevent such abuse from happening in the future,” he said.
The 30 page report is the most comprehensive review ever undertaken into child safeguarding practices in the Limerick Diocese. It measures the practices in the Diocese under seven standards and 48 criteria under those seven standards. The four ‘partially met’ criteria relate to the need for further development of policies regarding: Whistle blowing, IT Policy, Intimate Care and Communications.
Said Fr Mullins: “All four of these are addressed in our revised policy and procedures, as acknowledged in the Review. Detail of these will be published before the end of this year following approval by the NBSCCCI. In addition, the report includes 12 recommendations as to how we can further enhance our practices. A number of these are already in place and we expect to have the remainder implemented by early next year.
“Reports such as this are ultimately focussed on ensuring the best possible child safeguarding standards we already have in place, most immediately by advancing the ‘partially’ met criteria to ‘fully met’ and implementing all recommendations. We are reassured by many findings in the report, not least that the reviewers described as the ‘most striking aspect’ of their review the ‘competence of personnel involved in both case management and safeguarding’.
The Report cites the “competence and enthusiasm of the trainers in the Diocese”. To that end over 800 people (clergy, religious, lay employees and volunteers) have attended information sessions and training on Safeguarding Children in the Diocese since 2004. At least 200 of these people have had specific safeguarding roles or work exclusively with young people in youth ministry.
“The report also notes that our ongoing interagency meetings, which focus on safeguarding children and management of risk and which were initiated by Bishop Murray on his appointment, are the first that the national board has seen working so successfully.”
Fr Mullins noted that despite the reviewers’ findings that a vacuum was created by Bishop Murray’s departure, they also acknowledge that the business of safeguarding children remains a central focus for us in the Diocese.
Low morale of priests, due in part to scandals of the last few years at a national level, was also an issue that emerged in the report. “While the report acknowledges that priests remain committed to their safeguarding work, there is a great need to restore that confidence. The continued delivery of the highest child safeguarding standards in the diocese will help that process,” he continued.
“The report would suggest that we are currently in keeping with those standards in the Diocese as our policies and practices are sound, we have good people in place and we have an excellent and transparent relationship with the State authorities.”
Limerick Safeguarding and Child Protection contact information
Anyone with a child protection concern may contact:
An Garda Síochána, Henry St. Limerick 061-21 24 00;
HSE, Ballycummin Ave, Raheen Business Park, Limerick 061-48 27 92 (Office Hours);
Diocesan Designated Person, Mr Ger Crowley 087-32 33 564 (Dedicated Mobile) Email: email@example.com
Postal correspondence: Ger Crowley Safeguarding Children Service, Limerick Diocesan Office, Social Service Centre, Henry Street, Limerick
For further information including the Review please see:
Towards Healing is an organisation which provides telephone counselling and a counselling and psychotherapy referral service for people who have suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse when they were children, by persons working for the Catholic Church in Ireland. The Limerick Diocese supports the work of the Towards Healing service. The HELPLINE can be contacted by calling:
- FREEPHONE 1800 - 303416 from ANYWHERE IN IRELAND
- ON 0800 - 0963315 from NORTHERN IRELAND AND THE U.K.
Or visit their website www.towardshealing.ie
The HSE National Counselling Service (NCS) is a professional, confidential counselling and psychotherapy service available free of charge in all regions of the Health Services Executive. Our client group are adults who have experienced trauma and abuse in childhood with priority given to adult survivors of institutional abuse in Ireland. The Limerick service is based at ‘Ré Nua’, 6 Mount Vincent Terrace, O’Connell Avenue, Limerick, phone number 061 411900, or Free phone 1800 234 115. Further information is available on http://www.hse-ncs.ie/en/
Limerick Social Service Council: offers a free confidential counselling service for individuals and families to support them in their personal growth. Counselling is provided by trained Counsellors and Family Therapists, at the Centre in Henry Street and an outreach service is also in Kilmallock, Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale and Rathkeale. For further information please contact 061-314111 / 314213, firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.lssc.ie/
5 September 2012
I welcome the publication today of the Review on the diocese of Limerick by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church. I am pleased that the text of the Review has been published in full by the diocese. I am particularly pleased that the report shows excellent practice in Limerick today and recognises the competence of personnel involved in case management and safeguarding. The diocese continues to improve its safeguarding practices in the light of the lessons of the past and the guidance of the National Board.
In the context of the suffering inflicted on innocent children, nobody can feel complacent. It is unacceptable that anyone who was abused as a child did not receive all the understanding and respect that they had every right to expect.
The Diocesan Administrator Father Tony Mullins has once again encouraged anyone who has suffered the cruel injustice of abuse as a child to approach the civil authorities or the diocese and to seek support and help. It is the task of all of us to offer those who have suffered so dreadfully a listening ear and a willing response.
Retired Bishop of Limerick
“ TOWARDS HEALING “
ON THE OCCASION OF THE PUBLICATION OF THE REPORTS OF THE NATIONAL BOARD FOR SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN ON - DIOCESES OF CLONFERT, CORK AND ROSS, LIMERICK, KILDARE & LEIGHLIN; AND THE FOLLOWING RELIGIOUS CONGREGATIONS – SPIRITANS, DOMINICAN (MALE), MISSIONARIES OF THE SACRED HEART
“TOWARDS HEALING” is a confidential Counselling and Support Service for Survivors of Institutional, Clerical and Religious Abuse.
The service today announced the provision of extended opening hours, following the publication of the seven reports by the National Board for Safeguarding Children, into the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Limerick, Clonfert, Kildare & Leighlin - and the following Religious Congregations, Spiritans (Holy Ghost Fathers), Dominican(Male) and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
From today, Wednesday, 5th September 2012, the “ TOWARDS HEALING” HELPLINE Counselling Service will open from 11am to 1am tomorrow.
Tomorrow Thursday 6th and on Friday 7th September, the service will provide extended opening hours from 8am to 1am.
The HELPLINE can be contacted by calling:
- FREEPHONE 1800 - 303416 from ANYWHERE IN IRELAND
- ON 0800 - 0963315 from NORTHERN IRELAND AND THE U.K.
“TOWARDS HEALING” service was set-up following consultation between the Irish Episcopal Conference, CORI, the Irish Missionary Union and with input from Survivor Groups; and is designed to ensure that Survivors of Institutional, Clerical and Religious abuse receive counselling and other support services.
Also see: www.towardshealing.ie
For email contact: email@example.com
For further media information, contact Wally Young, Young Communications at 087 2471520.
Melissa Darmody, Clinical Director, Towards Healing, 086-1535247