“The Church has been shaken over the last few months by the shocking and distressing revelations of historic abuse of children and vulnerable people by members of the laity, deacons, priests, religious, bishops and cardinals,” said Bishop Alan. “We know too, that some bishops, and other leaders, failed to respond adequately to accusations made against clergy in their diocese.
“In solidarity with Pope Francis and my fellow bishops, I want first to express my deep sorrow for the hurt and damage that has been caused to the victim-survivors of abuse.
“I will make time to listen to those who wish to speak with me about the abuse that they have suffered. Our Co-Ordinator for Safeguarding in the Diocese will help me facilitate this,” said Bishop Alan.
Since 2001, the Catholic Church in England and Wales has adopted robust procedures in order to begin to rebuild trust. The bishops no longer oversee these matters. Every diocese has a Safeguarding Coordinator, appointed to lead on Safeguarding matters in the diocese and to liaise with the statutory authorities, as well as an Independent Safeguarding Commission and suspected criminal behaviour must be reported to the statutory authorities.
“I want to express my gratitude to all those who work so hard in our Diocese to make sure that our parishes, our communities and our schools are safe places for all, and especially the most vulnerable,” said Bishop Alan.
The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), has issued a Policy Statement on Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The statement underlines the necessity of: reporting all allegations of abuse to the statutory agencies; and working closely and cooperatively with the statutory authorities as allegations are investigated.