Statement on the Publication of the IICSA Report

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"The Catholic Church in England and Wales welcomes the Report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse relating to the institutional response of the Church in its duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. We thank the IICSA Panel for their work. The Report will now inform the ongoing reform and improvement of safeguarding in all aspects of the Church’s life.

"An important aspect of the Inquiry’s work was the voice given to victims and survivors of abuse, including the accounts which they gave of their subsequent engagement with the Church. Listening attentively to their witness testimony has brought into sharp relief the extent of the damage this sexual abuse has had on their lives. We apologise to all victims and survivors who have not been properly listened to, or properly supported by us. By listening with humility to those who have suffered, we can contribute to the healing of the wounds of abuse, as well as learn from those most directly affected how we must improve the Church’s safeguarding standards, policies and procedures.

"This is an ongoing task and one to which we are wholly committed. Child sexual abuse is a crime. It is a crime that requires committed vigilance and strict procedures to ensure reporting to the statutory authorities. This is the Church’s policy. It is also why our safeguarding work needs to be continually reviewed and improved. Where there have been failings and inconsistency in the application of our safeguarding procedures, we acknowledge these and commit to actions which will bring about improvement.

"Abuse is an evil act against the most vulnerable; it must never be excused or covered up. Abuse committed against children and the consequent damage to people’s lives cannot be undone. For this, we apologise without reservation, and we are committed to listen attentively to the voices of those who have been abused.

"This report is an important moment in our safeguarding journey in the Catholic Church in our countries. It will now be considered in detail by us, the Bishops, at our Plenary Assembly beginning next week so we can explore how to integrate the findings of this important Inquiry into the life and work of the Church in order to consistently safeguard children and the vulnerable."

Vincent Cardinal Nichols
President

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP
Vice-President



Media Notes

For Press Enquiries, please contact Alexander Desforges (Director of News for the Bishops’ Conference) on 07983 704097 (alexander.desforges@cbcew.org.uk)


National Catholic Safeguarding Commission Reporting Policy

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or adult at risk, do not delay in contacting the police, using 999 if a child or adult is believed to be in immediate danger.

It is the policy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to report all allegations of abuse to statutory authorities, regardless of whether the abuse occurred recently or in the past, or whether the accused person is living or deceased.

If you are in any role within the Catholic Church in England and Wales, you must refer allegations directly to the safeguarding office for your diocese or religious congregation, or directly to the Police.

If you are a member of the public, please refer allegations directly to the police and also to the safeguarding office in your diocese; (the relevant Diocesan safeguarding office can be located using the interactive map on the links page of the CSAS website – www.csas.uk.net - contact details will be shown when you click on the relevant area of the map). You can also contact CSAS by telephoning 07855 123398 or via email at admin@csas.uk.net.


Sea Sunday (which this year falls on 11th July) is a special time for Stella Maris (formerly called Apostleship of the Sea), the official maritime welfare agency of the Catholic Church. This is the day every year when the church celebrates and prays for all those who live and work at sea.

As a global maritime charity, Stella Maris has been playing a crucial role in supporting seafarers and fishers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is continuing to offer spiritual and practical help to those most in need.

It has been well-documented how India has been struggling with a devastating second wave of coronavirus. Thousands have been dying on the streets as hospitals there find themselves running out of oxygen.

Now, though, more than 1,000 Indian seafarers’ families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit from support in the port of Cochin.

Through Stella Maris’s involvement, 10 oxygenators are being purchased. This will prevent an estimated 60 lives a month being lost to the virus, amid a drastic shortage of oxygen tanks in hospitals.

With the charity’s and its donors’ support, 1,100 food parcels are also being purchased and distributed to seafarers’ families in Cochin devastated by COVID-19. Each parcel is sufficient to feed a family of five for one month.

Pandemic precautions in the United Kingdom have also led to the charity adopting different approaches to its work with seafarers and fishers around the UK.

For example, Stella Maris chaplains have delivered welfare packages to vessels’ gangways or via rope links to ships (see photo) to maintain social distancing protocols. These packages comprise essentials such as PPE equipment, clothing, toiletries and foodstuffs.

Seafarers have expressed their gratitude for being able to stay in touch with their families, through Stella Maris’ provision of internet access in ports thanks to Wi-Fi Units.

When this has not been possible, top-up cards for mobile phones have been provided to seafarers by the charity. These have been invaluable to seafarers. Captain Flover Santos, the Master of a tanker, expressed his thanks, when Stella Maris in Tees port provided top-up cards to the crew who were not allowed to leave their ship to go ashore at any of the ports at which they were calling.

“You help us to connect with our families. You guys are truly friends, and an instrument of God,” he said.

Seafarers need help now more than ever. A survey Stella Maris conducted found that 69% of seafarers suffered significant financial impact during the pandemic.

Almost half said they support three or more people with their income, and their top concern was feeding their families.

Financial worries like these and the stress that thousands face from having to spend more than a year on board due to extended contracts or, on the other hand, not having any work at all, has had a negative effect on their mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.

Adrian Gannon, Director of Development at Stella Maris, has appealed to Catholics throughout the United Kingdom to support Sea Sunday.

He said: “On Sea Sunday this year, we will thank God for the seafarers and fishers who have kept food and medical supplies moving during the pandemic and for the sacrifices they have made over the last year to supply our provisions.

“We will pray to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, to protect them in harsh conditions at sea and from coronavirus.

“We respectfully appeal to readers to support our ministry with fishers and seafarers at this critical time by praying for them on Sea Sunday and kindly making a donation to support our work through our website: www.stellamaris.org.uk/donate/. We will be especially grateful for any support you can kindly provide.”