Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse Criticises Church Leadership
Specialist abuse lawyers are urging for lessons to be learned after a report criticised the leadership of the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Vatican.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published its report which concluded that the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, at times “did not always exercise the leadership expected” when children were abused, and at times preferred to “protect the reputation” of the Church.
The report, the latest in a series of publications from the IICSA, stated that “real and lasting changes to attitudes have some way to go” if the Church wanted to “shake off failures of the past.”
Between 1970 and 2015, the Church received more than 3,000 complaints of child sexual abuse against more than 900 individuals, the inquiry found. The report added, however, that child sexual abuse was “far from a solely historical issue” with more than 100 allegations reported each year since 2016.
The inquiry said the Catholic Church’s “explicit moral purpose has been betrayed by those who sexually abused children, and by those who turned a blind eye and failed to take action against perpetrators,” reports the BBC.
IICSA also criticised the Vatican, stating its actions were in “direct contrast” with what Pope Francis had called for in 2019 – “concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the church.”
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist abuse team has vast experience in providing advice and support to people affected by such issues. The team has also previously given evidence to the IICSA regarding other sexual abuse investigations.
Expert Opinion“The latest findings published by the IICSA are deeply shocking. The figures themselves are appalling, but what’s worse is that the abuse went on for so long seemingly without action being taken by those in charge.
Turning a blind eye to such issues is unacceptable and the bravery of those who have spoken out should be commended. Through our work, we sadly see how hard it can be for people who have suffered abuse to come forward, as they can often feel ashamed and unsupported.
This needs to change and we urge that lessons are learned so that survivors can feel safe speaking out on their experiences.”
Luke Daniels - Partner
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in abuse cases