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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Investigation Report


F.2: Safeguarding training prior to ordination

2. Dioceses and religious institutes are expected to observe Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS) policies for safer recruitment and safeguarding training. For example:

  • Prior to commencing their training, candidates for the diocesan or religious priesthood must undergo a psychological assessment.[1] This includes an assessment of the candidate’s “personal history … relationships, sexuality … Attention should also be given to childhood experiences, especially to areas of abuse/neglect”.[2]
  • Where there is “credible evidence that a candidate is sexually attracted to minors he must immediately be dismissed from the seminary”.[3]
  • Those seeking to work with children and vulnerable adults must provide an enhanced criminal record (DBS) check.[4]

3. We heard evidence about the embedding of safeguarding in training. For example, training for the priesthood includes a diocesan safeguarding officer providing a three-day course, to:

help candidates come to see that safeguarding in the Church is about them and their formation, what kind of person they are capable of being, rather than a simple series of forms to fill in or rules to keep”.[5]

Seminarians also undertake a number of placements – for example, in hospitals and schools – and an extended placement in a parish, during which time they will be inducted into and gain experience of the parish safeguarding procedures.

4. Father Paul Smyth (President of the Conference of Religious (CoR)) told us that each religious institute is responsible for ensuring that its members receive safeguarding training. He said that each institute integrates safeguarding training into the different stages of training depending “on their own particular circumstances”.[6] Where members of the institute have contact with children (or vulnerable adults), the “expectation is that they would undergo the training provided by their Order and the commission they may be aligned with”.[7] He said “the goal” is to ensure that every member “is aware of the area of safeguarding and the inherent implications and responsibilities”, including knowledge about the national safeguarding structure and how to respond to concerns and allegations.[8]


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