Review of Safeguarding Practice at St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn

As part of the recent process of child safeguarding reviews by the Catholic Church in Ireland, the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) was invited to examine the child safeguarding practice of St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn in addition to 42 other Irish Religious Orders and Congregations, whose reports are being made public today, 9th September, 2015.The purpose of these full reviews is to ensure compliance against the Church’s safeguarding standards, approved and adopted in 2009, Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, with particular reference to the management of safeguarding allegations. Where there were allegations of sexual abuse, all cases files were examined. In addition, at the request of the Church Authority, allegations of other forms of abuse, physical and emotional were also examined.The Review of St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn has indicated that there have been no allegations against any Cistercian Sister. In the event that an allegation will be made, the review clarifies that there is a designated person in place who is very familiar with the reporting requirements.The review also notes that ‘the Cistercian Sisters have a short policy document which makes explicit their commitment to safeguarding children and vulnerable people. It sets out their reporting procedure, response to and care of complainants and management of the accused. The document also references their requirement to prevent abuse and finally their willingness to co-operate with the local Diocesan Procedures. The document is adequate for the level of ministry that they have with children.’The Safeguarding Board states in its founding principles that all children have a fundamental right to be respected, nurtured, cared for and protected. This right is embedded in Gospel values, best practice guidelines and international and domestic laws.In light of the teaching of the Church, civil legislation and guidance, every part of the Church must be committed to taking the necessary steps to uphold these fundamental rights and safeguard the dignity and protection of all children.