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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Investigation Report

Contents

K.1: Introduction

1. The structure of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is not pyramidical. There is no ‘head’ of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. However, there are individuals and institutions that provide leadership, including:

  • each bishop within his own diocese and major superiors in the religious institutes;[1]
  • the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (the Bishops’ Conference) and, to a lesser extent, the Conference of Religious (CoR);
  • the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), which sets the Church’s strategic direction and monitors compliance with safeguarding standards and the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS), which is responsible for “driving and supporting improvements in practice”;[2] and
  • Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who in his capacity as Archbishop of Westminster, a cardinal and President of the Bishops’ Conference, acts as a figurehead.

2. These individuals and institutions all set the tone and agenda for the Catholic Church’s approach to child protection and its response to child sexual abuse allegations.

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