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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Investigation Report

Contents

I.1: Introduction

1. Throughout this investigation, we have seen numerous examples of child sexual abuse allegations made to the Roman Catholic Church that were not passed to the police or other statutory authorities. For example, the Archdiocese of Birmingham failed to inform the police that they were aware of allegations against Father Samuel Penney[1] and Father James Robinson.[2] At both Ampleforth and Downside schools “a number of allegations were never referred to the police but were handled internally”.[3]

2. Against this background, a number of core participants and other witnesses suggested that the Inquiry should recommend the introduction of mandatory reporting of all child sexual abuse allegations.[4] The phrase ‘mandatory reporting’ is commonly used to refer to a legal duty requiring specified practitioners or organisations to report child sexual abuse if they know or have reasonable cause to suspect it was taking place. Failure to comply would be a criminal offence.

3. This part of the report deals with the Church’s current policies and guidance about reporting and the evidence relating to child sexual abuse revealed in the course of confession.

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