Former Kirk moderator Dr Andrew McLellan hits out over "astonishing" delay in abuse response from Catholic Church
By Stephen Naysmith, Herald Scotland
THE Catholic Church has been accused of failing to establish contact with victims of historic child abuse as it pledged to do in response to an independent review.
The Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan, a former Church of Scotlandmoderator who carried out an independent external review of child protection and safeguarding policies within the Catholic Church, said it was “astonishing” no contact had been made with victims’ groups.
When The McLellan Commission report was delivered in 2015, the Catholic Church pledged to implement all of its findings. These included a pledge that “justice must be done and justice must be seen to be done for those who have been abused and for those against whom allegations of abuse are made”.
However, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church insisted “interaction with survivors continues” and contact by its very nature was confidential. The spokesperson said: “The Church is now close to full implementation of the recommendations contained in the McLellan report.
“Safeguarding guidelines have been comprehensively revised and updated, while interaction with survivors continues.
“Crucially, no individual or organisation has a monopoly on survivor representation or interaction. Contact with survivors, by its nature confidential, is taking place across the Church. Many survivors do not identify with or join national groups and such groups should not presume to speak for them.” Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, as president of the Bishops’ Conference, apologised to anyone who had been harmed or who had suffered in any way as a result of actions by anyone within the Catholic Church.
He added: “We apologise to those who have found the Church’s response slow, unsympathetic or uncaring and reach out to them as we take up the recommendations of the McLellan commission.”
The Church says it has set up an independent review group headed by Baroness Helen Liddell to take forward the commission’s recommendations and claims it has been consulting with survivors.