Laws On Way To Force Child Abuse Reporting

After this week's continuing focus on allegations of clerical sexual abuse it has emerged today that legislation to introduce mandatory reporting of such allegations should be ready for the next Dáil term.

The Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has issued a memorandum on the legislation that had already been agreed by the Government.

"We will make it obligatory to report," she told RTÉ Morning Ireland today.

"That will apply to voluntary and statutory bodies. It will apply to faith groups and it will be obligatory to report child safety concerns."

This week's latest reports on child protection practice in six dioceses dating back to 1975 showed some evidence that child protection measures were improving in the Catholic Church.

However, successive bishops made significant errors of judgment in the diocese of Raphoe when responding to child abuse allegations but that the diocese of Kilmore had become "a model of best practice".

Ms Fitzgerald said she would wait for the arrival of reports from the Health Service Executive (HSE) on current child protection practice before deciding if further statutory inquiries into individual dioceses were necessary. She refused to rule out an inquiry into practices in Raphoe.

She said she expected to have a "full picture" of protection measures in the dioceses in the New Year but also cautioned that the expense of statutory inquiries would be a consideration.


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