More than 230 allegations of clerical abuse made to Catholic Church watchdog in last year
MORE than 230 allegations of clerical abuse have been made to the Catholic Church watchdog in the last year.
Figures showed 237 new abuse claims involving 196 priests and religious members were reported - the majority from adults who alleged they were childhood victims.
Six complaints relating to the year 2000 onwards were made to the National Board For Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC).
Ian Elliott, chief executive of the NBSCCC, warned the board needs more funding to cope with its workload.
"We noted in our last annual report that we had received a large number of requests for advice both from religious bodies and dioceses," he said.
"Existing advisory panels were also providing support, but we took the view that an additional resource to support ordinaries faced with challenging safeguarding concerns should be created.
"On a pilot basis, the National Case Management Reference Group (NCMRG) has been set up to address that need."
Mr Elliott said the group received more requests for advice than expected and will be fully evaluated after its first full year.
He revealed demand for services from the NBSCCC continued to rise during the year.
"Innovations designed to facilitate that workload, including the establishment of the NCMRG, were prominent," he added.
"The most significant on the training side was the creation of a standardised set of training materials and the recruitment of eight tutors, two in each metropolitan area, to ensure its roll-out.
"While we have worked hard to increase the amount of work we can take on, we would greatly value additional funding.
"This has been discussed with the sponsoring bodies and we have been greatly encouraged by their willingness to listen to our requests."
Mr Elliott added that reviews of safeguarding standards in dioceses, the ongoing development of standards and guidance, and the implementation of the National Training and Support Programme would be key areas of focus in the coming year.