New guidelines from the Vatican advises reporting sex abuse claims to police

On 16 July, the Vatican released guidelines for bishops and other senior officials setting out clear and detailed rules on how to deal with clerical child sex abuse claims.

The manual (which includes a form to be filled out detailing the alleged crime against the minors involved) does not include any new laws, but has been drawn up at the express request of Pope Francis who called for procedures to be laid out step-by-step to avoid any further confusion in the area.

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Report finds routine physical abuse within sport in Japan

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has this week published its report into abuse within sport in Japan. The report is titled ‘I was hit so many times I can’t count’ and details the study’s findings: that child athletes in Japan have routinely suffered physical abuse from their coaches. The report comes in the week that would have marked the start of the Tokyo Olympics had it not been for the COVID-19 global pandemic which has delayed the games by one year.

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Interdepartmental working group chair appointment

The Department of Health and The Executive Office set up an interdepartmental Working group to “take forward work on historic Mother and Baby Home/Magdalen Laundries and historical clerical child abuse” in June 2019.  At that time they appointed Mr Peter McBride to the position as independent Chair of the group.  His role was to initially run for a period of one year.

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Renewed focus on USA Gymnastics abuse scandal

‘Athlete A’ is Netflix’s recently released documentary which focuses on the sexual abuse scandal at USA Gymnastics (‘USAG’), perpetrated by Dr Larry Nassar, a former team doctor, under the guise of medical procedures. Nassar was accused of sexually assaulting over 250 women and girls dating back to 1992. The documentary explores the investigation by the Indianapolis Star which culminated in the conviction and sentencing of Nassar in 2018; the response of USAG to reports of sexual abuse; and the culture within USAG which enabled Nassar to continue to commit sexual assaults for a considerable length of time.

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Lambeth Redress Scheme – Update as of April 2020

The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme (LRS) was launched on 2 January 2018 and can accept applications up to 1 January 2022.

The LRS provides survivors of physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse (whilst resident in a Lambeth Children’s Home) with an alternative dispute mechanism for obtaining compensation without having to go through the Courts.

It covers all Children’s Homes which were run by Lambeth Council and applies to all residents dating back to the 1930s until the Homes were closed in the 1980 and 90s.

Since the LRS opened a total of 1,479 applications have been made.

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Lambeth admits failings and apologies in advance of IICSA Hearings

IICSA yesterday commenced its four week virtual public hearing in the Children in the Care of Lambeth Council investigation.

The first hearings are scheduled to run from the 29 June until the 10 July 2020 and then further hearings will take place from the 10 July to the 31 July, 2020

The IICSA investigation into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children in the care of Lambeth Council from sexual abuse and exploitation was originally announced in November 2015.

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Data breach at NI Commissioner for victims confirmed as “procedural error”

A data breach occurred when a newsletter was sent to a number of people in a circulation list held by the Commissioner’s Office. The names included around 250 people who were victims or survivors of historic abuse.

Following disclosure of the breach an investigation was started to identify the cause.  The Executive Office accepted that the incident had created problems for many victims and an inquiry has confirmed that the cause of the breach was a “procedural error.”

Mr McAllister had indicated he would await the outcome of any investigation and reflect on calls for him to resign in light of those investigations.

It is likely that this situation will ease pressure on him to resign and while some still feel he should leave many other victims and survivors continue to appreciate his work and support.


Written by Fintan Canavan, Partner at BLM

fintan.canavan@blmlaw.com

 

 

 

 

IICSA publishes report into child sexual abuse in sport

IICSA has recently published a Truth Project thematic report that focuses on child sexual abuse within sport. The report follows a detailed, qualitative analysis of victim and survivor experiences of child sexual abuse in sport to identify themes and inform future recommendations.

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Further pressure on NI Interim Commissioner for Victims

Just over a week after the NI Executive opened the process to appoint a full-time commissioner for victims and survivors of institutional abuse the Interim commissioner, Brendan McAllister, has come under further pressure to resign as a result of his role in the Catholic Church.  It was known that he had started the process of becoming a Deacon in the Catholic Church and he recently took part in a service in St Peter’s church in his full clerical garb.

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