IBP’s Statement on Child Safeguarding Practises

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This was the statement from Fr. Patrick Byrne SVD, Provincial (Notes from the Editor: Fr Pat was the Provincial when this statement  was issued in 2014):

The Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) has placed a report from the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (The National Board) on our website. In August 2013 the National Board undertook, at our request, a review of the management of allegations of child sexual abuse against members of the Society, and a review of our current Child Safeguarding practices.

We unreservedly apologise to all who were abused by members of our Society, and express our deep and sincere sorrow to all those who have been hurt by any member of our Society.

There are allegations against six members. Of the six, one is deceased, four are out of ministry, two members deny the allegations being made against them, and one priest has served a prison sentence. All allegations received have been passed to the Gardaí and the HSE, who have and will continue to have our full cooperation.

We accept that we were slow to begin the process of implementing accepted and agreed Church Child safeguarding policies, procedures and practices. We are now committed to implementing comprehensive and effective child safeguarding across the Province. We have engaged a professional lay Delegate to manage this vitally important area of child safeguarding. With the help of our lay Delegate we have completely revised our child protection policies. These documents have been distributed to all members of the Society in the Province. We will continue to work with the National Board, TUSLA (formerly part of the HSE) and An Garda Síochána to ensure that our systems and procedures are fully compliant, effective and comprehensive now and into the future.

Again we wish to unreservedly apologise to those who have been abused, to their families and all those who have been affected.

We urge any other persons who were abused by members of our Society to report to the Gardaí and TUSLA. We also ask those who were abused to consider contacting the independent Helpline, Towards Healing on 1800 303416. The website address for Towards Healing is www.towardshealing.ie and email address is info@towardshealing.ie. The telephone number from the Republic of Ireland is 1800 303416 & from Northern Ireland and the U.K. is 0800 0963315. Towards Healing offices are open Monday to Thursday 11am to 8pm and on Friday 11am to 6pm. Extended Opening hours for Towards Healing on Monday 12th May and Tuesday 13th May 2012 from 8pm – 1am.

You can also contact One in Four on (01) 6624070 from 9.30am – 5.30pm daily or any of the national helplines which can provide assistance. Contact details for the Rape Crisis Centre (National 24 hour helpline): 1800 778888. For media queries: please contact Fr Patrick Byrne at 087 0523046, or email: provincial@svdireland.com

Lay Delegate: If you wish to contact the lay delegate appointed to deal with child safeguarding issues, her details are as follows: Saoirse Fox, 086 3441707, email:saoirsew@gmail.com

SVD Provincial Office, May 12th 2014

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