Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Publication of Audit of Religious Orders, Congregations and Missionary Societies Volume II

Tusla – Child and Family Agency today publishes the ‘Audit of Religious Orders, Congregations and Missionary Societies Safeguarding Arrangements and Management of Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse - Volume II’

The audit details the management of 1882 separate allegations* of child sexual abuse, and the extent of adherence of each church body to the existing guidance in place at the time the allegations were made. The audit demonstrates that these church bodies have made substantial improvements over time to adhere to child abuse management guidelines.

The majority of audited church bodies were given an overall child protection rating (unsatisfactory, satisfactory, or excellent). Of the 135 church bodies covered by this audit:

  • 29 were rated as excellent;
  • 43 were rated as satisfactory;
  • 16 were rated as unsatisfactory.

Speaking about the audit Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance, Tusla said: “This audit was undertaken as a recommendtion of the Ferns report in 2005. It is the second volume of work which covers the period from 1996 up to 2015. From this audit it is clear that these church bodies have made substantial improvements over time to adhere to child protection and safeguarding guidelines.

2017 brought new Children First legislation and the introduction of mandatory reporting. This change will mean that the church bodies included in this audit, and all people and organisations working with children need to be familiar with the changes to ensure that children are as safe as possible. A useful suite of guidance documents for organisations working with children, and members of the public are available on Tusla’s website.”

The purpose of the the audit was to:

  • Assess how Religious Orders responded to allegations of child sexual abuse (from 1996 - 2015);
  • Assess each Religious Order’s child safeguarding document to ensure they are being implemented appropriately.

A number of key learnings were identified  following the audit process:

  • Attitude and culture – overall the audit shows a clear shift in attitudes and culture towards child safeguarding in recent times.
  • Engagement – all 135 church bodies demonstrated their commitment to the audit process.
  • Ongoing management of allegations and risk – it can be concluded that safeguarding mechanisms varied from being excellent, satisfactory and extremely poor.
  • Training and education – the audit showed varying levels of of child protection training procedures.
  • Safeguarding practice – not all safeguarding activity was reflected in policy documents. In some cases a number of essential procedures were not  included in safeguarding documents.
  • Governance oversight – the audit shows that church bodies (in the audit) clearly understand the need for implementing governance processes and for oversight of these processes.

This audit was requested following the Ferns Commission of Inquiry Report of 2005. Volume one of the report was published in 2012 and focused upon the 24 dioceses in the republic of Ireland, this volume focuses on the 135 congregations who are in ministry in the country currently.

Anyone who is affected by the publication of this audit can contact the below:
  • Toward Healing - 1 800 303416 (Freephone)
  • One in Four – 016624070
  • HSE National Counselling Services:
  • HSE Dublin North East (North Dublin & Meath) 1800 234 110
  • HSE Dublin North East (Navan, Cavan, Louth & Monaghan) 1800 234 117
  • HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster (South Dublin, East Wicklow) 1800 234 111
  • HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster (West Dublin, West Wicklow & Kildare 1800 234 112
  • HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster (Laois, Offaly, Longford & Westmeath) 1800 234 113
  • HSE West (Galway, Mayo & Roscommon) 1800 234 114
  • HSE West (Limerick, Clare & North Tipperary) 1800 234 115
  • HSE West (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo) 1800 234 119
  • HSE South (Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow and South Tipperary) 1800 234 118
  • HSE South (Cork & Kerry) 1800 234 116

-ENDS –

*Relates to all allegations of abuse which would be assessed, as appropriate. The report does not cover the outcome of these assessments. 

Audit of Religious Orders, Congregations and Missionary Societies Safeguarding Arrangements and Management of Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse - Volume II

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