Welcome to another issue of IM Aware, an e-mail newsletter prepared by the Irwin Mitchell Child Abuse Team.

Once again we have put together an informative newsletter which highlights the importance of the work we do at Irwin Mitchell for the survivors of abuse and our continuing campaign for the rights of the victims we represent.

In November 2009, a damning report was published dealing with the ‘cover up’ of child abuse in Ireland by the Catholic Church and other Government bodies. This report identified the systemic child abuse that occurred within the Church. It also highlighted how the abusers were allowed to continue to abuse children whilst having the protection of the church.

During his recent visit to Britain, Pope Benedict XVI spoke out about the "immense suffering" of the victims of child abuse, and the "shame and humiliation" brought by the scandal. During his public apology he expressed his "deep sorrow" for the "unspeakable crimes" of child abuse within the Catholic Church.

He added: "I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins...” 

The Pope later met with British victims of sexual abuse by priests. They were told that the Roman Catholic Church was doing all in its power "to bring to justice clergy and religious [people] accused of these egregious crimes".

A church spokesman said the Pope was "moved by what they had to say and expressed his deep sorrow and shame over what victims and their families had suffered. He prayed with them and assured them that the Catholic Church is continuing to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people."

Although the Pope speaking out about the abuse is welcomed it is clear that for some, it is not enough. Many victims of abuse wanted an apology and acknowledgment of responsibility from the Catholic Church.

Irwin Mitchell continues to support victims of abuse in their fight for justice. We continue to call for improvements in child protection and we will continue to fight for our clients to ensure they get the justice they deserve.

If you would like to discuss in more detail any of the issues raised within this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact us. If we can assist with any specific training on any aspect of child abuse law, please feel free to contact the team.

Natasha Lewis – Solicitor, London