UN report on how Vatican handled sex abuse welcomed by child-protection watchdog

National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland welcomed recommendations on eliminating corporal punishment

NBSCCCI welcomed a recommendation that the Vatican “strengthen its efforts” to make the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child widely known.

NBSCCCI welcomed a recommendation that the Vatican “strengthen its efforts” to make the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child widely known.

Fri, Feb 7, 2014, 01:00


The Irish Catholic Church’s child-protection watchdog has welcomed this week’s UN Committee on the Rights of the Child report on the Vatican’s handling of clerical child sexual abuse.

In particular, the Maynooth-based National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) welcomed the recommendations on eliminating corporal punishment where children are concerned, and it calls for an internal church inquiry into the religious who ran the Magdalene laundries and to pay compensation to the women in them.

Observations
Last night the board said that “as an organisation we are pleased that a significant number of observations and recommendations [in the UN report] relating to child abuse in the Catholic Church are already in place due to the work of the NBSCCCI and the church.

“To cite a few examples; clear procedures are now in place for reporting to the civil authorities and children’s rights awareness training has been taking place.

“We believe that we have come a long way in recognising the rights of children to protection, but we are acutely conscious that there is no room for complacency.”

It welcomed the UN recommendation that the Vatican “establish a mechanism at a high level with the mandate and capacity to co-ordinate the implementation of children’s rights across all pontifical councils, episcopal conferences” as well as all “that functions under the authority of the Holy See”.

“This mechanism should be provided with adequate human, financial and technical resources to fulfil its mandate.”

It welcomed a recommendation that the Vatican “strengthen its efforts” to make the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child widely known.

It also welcomed the UN reminder to the Vatican that the right of children “to freely express their views constitutes one of the most essential components of children’s dignity”.

The board welcomed the UN recommendation that the church conduct an internal inquiry into the four religious congregations which ran the Magdalene laundries and ensure those responsible for offences “be sanctioned and reported to national judicial authorities for prosecution purposes”.

It supported the UN recommendation that full compensation be paid to Magdalene women and their families.

It endorsed the UN reminder to the Vatican that “all forms of violence against children, however light, are unacceptable” and that it ought “explicitly oppose all corporal punishment in child-rearing” in canon law and in all Catholic institutions.

The board supported the UN call on the Vatican to “immediately remove all known and suspected child abusers”, and that these be referred to the “relevant law-enforcement authorities”.

It backed the UN call for changes in canon law to allow child abuse to be considered a crime and for the removal of the obligation of silence therein on victims and others aware of such crimes.

It supported the UN call for “transparent sharing “ of all Vatican archives on abusers and those who hid their crimes.

Findings
It backed the UN call for the new Vatican commission on abuse, set up by Pope Francis, to investigate all child sexual abuse cases, how church authorities dealt with those cases, and that findings be made public.

The board also supported the UN call for the Vatican to “provide compensation to victims of sexual abuse committed by individuals and institutions under the Holy See’s authority without imposing any obligation of confidentiality on the victims and establish a compensation scheme for victims”.