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Monday 26 September 2016

Religious orders knew regime was 'rough and dreadful' - watchdog

Sarah MacDonald

Published 14/09/2015 | 02:30

Teresa Devlin, CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church
Teresa Devlin, CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church

The head of the Catholic Church's safeguarding watchdog has criticised the absence of a compassionate response to survivors of abuse in some religious orders.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent, Teresa Devlin, CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, said the provincials of some of the female religious orders had expressed regret and distress to her over the harshness of the regime that their orders oversaw.

"They all knew it was rough and dreadful, particularly in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, where kids were treated like objects, not children," she said.

Ms Devlin also expressed concern over the low conviction rate of religious accused of child sexual abuse in the civil courts.

Following the publication of 43 safeguarding reviews last week, covering eight male orders and 35 female orders, Ms Devlin appealed to the church authorities to investigate alleged abusers.

Just eight priests and brothers were convicted of child sexual abuse out of a total of 141 against whom 325 allegations were made.

"We're very clear in the National Board that the criminal investigation should not end the process. After the criminal authorities have concluded their investigation, and irrespective of the outcome, there must be a church investigation," Ms Devlin said.

Irish Independent

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