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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.3: Current safeguarding training to clergy and religious orders or congregations

5. In 2012, the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) and CSAS made 10 recommendations to raise safeguarding standards throughout the Church. The recommendations were set out in Towards a Culture of Safeguarding.[1] Many of those recommendations focus on training for clergy and those individuals involved in safeguarding.

5.1. An induction for members of the safeguarding commissions is required to identify if they require any training or additional training to that received as part of their professional safeguarding background.

5.2. Clergy are required to “regularly update their knowledge and skills in relation to safeguarding” by attending “updating sessions every three years”.[2] Dr Colette Limbrick, director of CSAS, told us that there were three national training modules for the clergy which have been recently updated and they’re due to be developed further to involve the perspective of the Survivor Advisory Panel”.[3] The training is endorsed by the NCSC and monitored through the national audit process. In May 2019, the Bishops in England and Wales approved recommendations to mandate biennial safeguarding refresher training for clergy.[4]

5.3. Parish safeguarding representatives are required to undergo initial training followed up with annual training sessions thereafter.[5]

6. There are also a number of additional ways that individuals involved in safeguarding are currently trained.

6.1. The CoR has “collaborated and supported the work of CSAS and the safeguarding commissions by providing some seminars and gatherings”.[6] There is also ongoing training within the institutes provided by, for example, the safeguarding commissions to which the institute is aligned. CoR is also recruiting a safeguarding adviser.[7]

6.2. The CSAS website sets out the ‘National Standards for Induction, Supervision, Support, Training and Appraisal’ which includes 19 training topics with which a safeguarding coordinator must become familiar. The document also prescribes the timescale, following appointment to the role, within which these topics should be covered.[8] CSAS organises national safeguarding coordinator meetings three times a year, which may include “learning and development opportunities through the provision of training or workshops”. Coordinators also “share with each other current issues or practice learning”.[9]

6.3. In turn, the safeguarding coordinator is involved in the training of anyone in the Archdiocese who works with children or adults in vulnerable circumstances”, including “priests, chaplains, seminary students, Parish Safeguarding Representatives, members of the community, volunteers, youth workers, Archdiocese staff and others”.[10] It is for the safeguarding coordinator to ensure national training standards are met in line with national policy.[11] In 2019, CSAS appointed a full-time safeguarding training coordinator.[12]

6.4. Since 2017, the Survivor Advisory Panel (SAP) has undertaken training on the perspective of victims and survivors. This training was given at local level to Ampleforth Abbey, bishops and the NCSC.[13] This training is not part of a national programme and is therefore delivered on an ad hoc basis. This is the subject of review and will be considered in due course by Baroness Sheila Hollins.[14] In August 2020, Baroness Hollins informed the Inquiry that the SAP and NCSC are to hold a “joint development day” in October 2020 (and then annually) and that the “key proposals include” involving the SAP in developing NCSC core strategic plan as well as ensuring that SAP members and the NCSC committees meet each other “regularly” including at NCSC meetings.[15]

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