The Catholic Church, through the offices of the Irish Episcopal Conference (IEC) and the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI), has commissioned independent consultants, RSM Ireland, to undertake a Strategic Review of Child Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Ireland. This is an external review which will include, as an essential component, the voice of victims and survivors of abuse.
The purpose of this Review is to evaluate all aspects of safeguarding, including the impact and effectiveness of the work done by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland and the two support organisations for survivors, Towards Healing and Towards Peace.
An important part of this Review is to engage with survivors and victims of abuse so that their perspectives and experiences are meaningfully heard and considered by the Review Team. The abuse could be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or spiritual in nature. Specifically, we are seeking to engage with survivors who have disclosed their abuse within the last 20 years to determine what the Church is currently doing well, and which aspects of the Church’s response could be improved upon. This 20-year timeframe has been applied to the Review because the current safeguarding systems in the Church, which are the subject of this Review, have been in existence for up to 20 years.
This consultation will take place from 6th October 2023 to 6th November 2023, using a survey that has been specifically created for this purpose.
We want to hear about your experience of dealing with the Catholic Church after you disclosed your abuse. You can tell us how the Church responded to you; what your experiences - good and bad - were going through the system, or tell us about the advice, care, or support you might have received. To access the survey, please click on the link below ‘Survey for Survivors’.
For anyone unable to complete this survey online, please contact [email protected] to get a copy of the survey sent out in the post.
Survivor Consultation: FAQs
The Catholic Church in Ireland wants to listen to survivors and victims of abuse about the things it could do better. Two organisations, the IEC (the bishops) and AMRI (religious orders and congregations) have commissioned RSM Ireland to undertake an independent, external Strategic Review of Child Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Ireland. We want to hear from people who have experienced clerical or religious abuse in the last 20 years, and who have disclosed that abuse - and to seek their views on two key questions:
- How responsive is the Church to meeting the needs of survivors?
- How could Church structures be improved to build a better future?
The Church wants to do better. It is committed to working with those who have been affected by abuse to shape an effective safeguarding service. It values the unique knowledge and wisdom that can only come from listening to those who have been harmed by abuse. RSM Ireland wants to engage survivors in this consultation about the current safeguarding challenges, and in a way that is open and transparent.
We are asking people who have disclosed their childhood abuse in the past 20 years because the core and relevant structures and systems established by the Church have been in existence for up to 20 years, and we want to hear what people who have used these services think of them. The key bodies are:
- The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (The National Board), established in 2006 (www.safegurarding.ie)
- Towards Healing, established in 2011 (www.towardshealing.ie)
- Towards Peace, established in 2013 (www.towardspeace.ie).
Survivors of abuse are not a homogenous group so there is no ‘best’ way of consulting with them. By making the consultation public via survey and allowing people to choose for themselves about getting involved or not, is likely to reach and engage the greatest number of people.
It is a survey tool that can be used to collect information from people about their lived experience of an issue. The SenseMaker survey is specifically devised to focus on personal experience because people record what matters to them.
Participation is completely voluntary. All information collected will be treated confidentially and held securely. All information is handled and stored in accordance with the Irish Data Protection Acts.
This is a decision for the Church.
This consultation is specifically about evaluating and making improvements to the safeguarding processes and systems that are in place. For that reason, we are only seeking the views of people who have disclosed clerical or religious abuse in the last 20 years. We are not asking survivors and victims of abuse to come forward and make new disclosures.
- Towards Peace +353 (0) 1 5053028
- Towards Healing 1800 303416
- One in Four 01 662 4070
- Samaritans 116 123
- Rape Crisis Centre 1800 77 8888
- ISPCC 01 522 4300
- Connect Counselling 00800 477 477 77
- Designated Liaison Persons. Each Congregation and Diocese has a dedicated Designated Liaison Person (DLP) who is available to respond to any complaints or safeguarding concerns. DLPs can be contacted by any person wishing to talk further about abuse involving church personnel.
- Tusla has local duty social work services throughout the country and their contact details are available on the Tusla website (https://www.tusla.ie/)