Review into Catholic Church's handling of abuse claims to be published

Commission tasked with ensuring the church is 'a safe place for all'


The findings of an independent review of the Catholic Church in Scotland's handling of allegations of abuse are due to be published.

The Very Rev Andrew McLellan, a former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and one-time chief inspector of prisons, has led the external inquiry into the policies and practices of the church.

The 11-member McLellan Commission was tasked with evaluating the procedures in place to protect vulnerable children and adults, and ensure the church is "a safe place for all".

Mr McLellan will reveal its key findings and recommendations at a press conference in Edinburgh to coincide with the publication of a final report.

The commission was set up in November 2013 by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland in response to a series of scandals, including the resignation of disgraced Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

He stepped down from the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in February 2013 after three priests and a former priest made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against him.

As part of its work, the commission heard from victims of abuse but its remit did not extend to investigating or ruling on current or historical allegations.

Its members included Malcolm Graham, Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Ranald Mair, chief executive of Scottish Care, and Kathleen Marshall, former Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Breakdown of incidents

Alongside the review, the Catholic Church in Scotland published details of diocesan safeguarding audits from 2006 to 2012 giving a breakdown of incidents reported during that time.

A total of 46 allegations were made, of which 55% related to sexual abuse, 19% to physical abuse, 11% were allegations of verbal abuse and 15% were in connection with emotional abuse.

Of those accused, 56% were priests, 22% were volunteers, 11% were parishioners and the remainder were staff or other people connected to the church.

There have been no prosecutions in relation to 61% of all cases reported, the church said.

It also announced that a review of all cases of historic abuse allegations between 1947 and 2005 will be published at a later date.

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