The issue of child sexual abuse in society came to the attention of the public for the first time in the 1980s, at first in the United Kingdom and later in the United States. In the late 1990s child sexual abuse in contexts associated with the Catholic Church was the focus of media reporting.
The first document outlining the Church’s response to the need for safeguarding policies was issued in 1996, Child Sexual Abuse – Framework for a Church Response.
In 2005 the Irish Episcopal Conference, together with the Conference of Religion in Ireland and the Irish Missionary Union, published the policy and procedures document, Our Church, Our Children. A key recommendation of this document was the establishment of a national board for safeguarding children and a national office for the implementation of the board’s decisions and policies.
The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland was established in 2006. A key responsibility of the National Board is to assist persons implementing and procedures throughout the Church in Ireland to achieve a consistent and up-to-date standard of best practice.
In 2008 the National Board launched the Standards and Guidance document which first introduced a set of set of seven standards representing best practice in the area of safeguarding children. The intention of that document was to provide a “practical mechanism by which everyone in the Church in Ireland can reach a uniform standard of best practice in safeguarding based on the core principles established in Our Church our Children.
In 2016 the Standards were revised, in light of developments in legislation, policy and guidance, and published in the document, Safeguarding Children Policy and Standards for the Catholic Church in Ireland.
This website hosts the complete and up-to-date library of documents from the National Board for Safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
If you are interested in knowing more about The Seven Standards for the implementation of best practice in child safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Ireland please click here.