Report recommends review of child protection policies in Diocese of Kerry

A new report on how the Diocese of Kerry handled cases of sexual abuse by priests finds that there is a need for a review of many policies on child protection. safegaurding childrenThe report of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church carried out a review of policies and procedures in the Kerry Diocese during May 2013. Members of the National Board for Safeguarding Children examined files held by the Kerry Diocese in relation to cases of sexual abuse by priests dating back as far as 1975 – and covering a period during which four bishops were in office. It finds that the Diocese received 67 allegations of abuse in the 38 year period, all of which were referred to the HSE or gardai. Just one priest has been convicted of an offence. There are five priests against whom allegations have been made and who have left the Diocese or priesthood while eight priests who were alleged to have abused children are still living in the Diocese. The review commends the Diocese and Bishop Bill Murphy, who retired earlier this year, saying there was “a genuine commitment in wanting victims to come forward and receive support.” However the Board makes several criticisms including a lack of written policies in some cases and cites several examples of the poor handling of reports of abuse by priests. The report makes eight recommendations including the need for a revision of current policy provisions, the establishment of a register of visiting and retired priests in the Diocese, and that a proper written protocol for dealing with priests against whom allegations are made be put in place. The Diocese says that all recommendations will be implemented in full. Meanwhile The Bishop of Kerry says safeguarding children is the most important thing going forward in the diocese. Bishop Ray Brown encouraged survivors of clerical child sex abuse to come forward to the diocese and it will do all it can to help. Bishop Ray Browne says even one person abused is a tragedy:[audio_player src=””] Meanwhile, The Designated Person for the safeguarding of children in the Diocese of Kerry says there is although there is more work to do in terms of policy documentation the child protection practices in the Diocese of Kerry are very good. Jim Sheehy is also encouraging those who were abused to come forward and avail of the supports of the diocese. He says today’s report is another stepping stone in dealing with the legacy of clerical child sex abuse:[audio_player src=””] If you are affected by this, you can call Connect freephone 1800 477 477 or the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre at  1800 633 333.