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Safeguarding minors in England and Wales

· Data from the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission ·

Trust is growing in the organisms created by the Church in England and Wales to prevent and eventually prosecute cases of sexual abuse committed by clergy. The number of people who have come forward with abuse allegations has doubled in one year, according to Baroness Patricia Scotland, President of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), the organization created by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, who presented the Annual Report 2010-2011 at a recent press conference.

Baroness Scotland said that there were 83 cases brought forward by the faithful in 2010, compared to 40 in the previous year. For the members of the Commission, this increase is directly linked to the open and sincere approach to the problem on the part of Benedict XVI during his Apostolic Visit to the United Kingdom, when he met with victims of sexual abuse on several occasions. For Baroness Scotland, “Pope Benedict had a few opportunities to listen and clearly connected with people in a way which was palpable and genuine."

The President of the NCSC said that the Pope demonstrated leadership and a strong sense of humanity in pastoral care of the faithful, who welcomed his sensitivity and now believe that the Church is ready to provide the support necessary to address the theme of abuse with greater serenity. “This renewed sense of trust,” said Baroness Scotland, “is particularly necessary for the activity of the NCSC …(which works) to provide a safe and encouraging framework to support survivors.”

Speaking of the results of the report, the Baroness said that, “there have been many positive results in the area of security for the evangelical mission of the Church of England and Wales.”

The Baroness added, however, “that there is no room for complacency and indeed there is much still to do.”

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