Following a number of enquiries about the policy of the Catholic Church in relation to the protection of children and vulnerable adults, the following statement was issued on Friday 8 March 2013:
The Catholic Church has had nationally agreed guidelines on the protection of children and vulnerable adults, since 1999. In this regard the Church was two years ahead of the Nolan Commission in England & Wales, which reported in 2001, see; http://catholicmediaoffice.org/articles/scottish-catholic-church-responds-to-nolan-report.html
The Church recognises that the statutory authorities are the responsible bodies for investigation. All allegations are notified to the police and anyone making an allegation of wrongdoing is advised to contact the police. All necessary steps are taken to remove anyone in danger from situations of risk.
A number of individuals have been involved over many years in the development of policies and procedures they have competence in many related fields. In 2003, to augment existing Diocesan protection staff, the Church appointed a National Director of Child protection. Ten years later that post now titled; National Co-ordinator remains a key part of our safeguarding structures.
The number of annually reported incidents in Scotland have been small since we began to audit and have only very rarely involved a member of the clergy. Where a report is made the matter is passed on to the police for further investigation and we consider it is the responsibility of the police and the prosecuting authorities to record incidents of criminal behaviour.
Errors in the handling of historic cases have informed current safeguarding standards. There is always room for improvement but many lessons have been learned and the church can only renew its apologies to those whose complaints were not taken seriously or handled properly in the past.