NAPAC welcomes the publication of IICSA’s Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales Investigation Report which examines the extent of institutional failings within the Church.
As NAPAC knows well from the experiences described to us by victims and survivors of abuse, this IICSA report finds that the Roman Catholic Church swept reports of child sexual abuse under the carpet and resistance to external intervention was widespread. Yet again, an institution prioritised its reputation above the protection of children.
It is deeply disappointing that the Holy See would not provide a witness statement to this IICSA investigation, an omission which serves only to strengthen concerns about the leadership and importance of safeguarding across the Roman Catholic Church.
NAPAC is concerned for the thousands of victims and survivors who have described the profound and lifelong effect of abuse they experienced within a church context. The moral purpose of faith organisations often means victims and survivors also experience emotional trauma from the abuse of authority and deference.
We especially welcome IICSA’s recommendations in the report. These offer practical steps that can be taken by the Roman Catholic Church and specifically by leadership across England and Wales and the Holy See to address the failures that have been identified. Improving leadership, training, compliance and external auditing needs to be prioritised by the Roman Catholic Church. This will signify the start of the necessary cultural shift, and will equip individuals engaged by the Church to better protect children in the future that they have so obviously failed in the past.
Gabrielle Shaw, NAPAC’s Chief Executive said:
‘We are grateful for the work of IICSA, and their work to highlight the experience of victims and survivors of abuse. The failure of the Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales to understand trauma is evident throughout this report. We hope that more people disclosing their experiences inspires more organisations to listen, reflect and work towards improving safeguarding for those at risk now and improving support for survivors.’
The full report, executive summary, and individual sections can be read on IICSA’s website. The report contains descriptions of abuse, and extracts of correspondence about survivor that may be distressing to read.