by Brian Hennessy
Until two years ago, safeguarding for Religious (like the Comboni Missionaries) was undertaken in house.
It was then changed and the responsibility was undertaken by diocesan Safeguarding Officers – who report to the Safeguarding Commission. I have confirmed today that Father John Clark is no longer the Safeguarder for the VFs and the job is now in the hand if Philip Wright at the diocese if Arundel and Brighton for all cases related to the Comboni Missionaries.
All cases of abuse by a Comboni Missionary can be notified to a Safeguarding Officer – even historical abuse – and Nolan insists that historical abuse should be treated in exactly the same was as contemporary abuse of minors.
The Safeguarding Officers hold all this information in confidence in case more abuse by another individual is notified – and so that they can advise other diocesan Safeguarding Officers about Abusers working in their area.
They also advise the Police and Welfare Authorities in the case of minors and will provide assistance to Victims of any age who need it.
Comboni Missionaries Safeguarding Officers
It is clear to me that no Comboni Missionary Safeguarding Officer ever reported an Abuser to anyone as they should have done.
We would have known had they done so because we would have been contacted immediately. This is an issue that will certainly need to be raised at the inquiry and I have documented it.
It occurs to me that we could report it ourselves. It is a critical element of the Nolan Report. it is quite likely that they never reported it because they wanted to keep it under wraps.
As I have most of the information, I am happy to report it on behalf of any of you who agree to it – or of course you could do it yourself and avail yourself of any of their services.
Father John Clark
Of course when we talk of abuse – we mean also physical and psychological abuse – and that would put Father John Clark and Father Robert Hicks in the frame as well.
There are benefits in doing this even in cases of deceased VFs because if any new historic cases are reported – it will assist them in quickly verifying the information.
In respect to those Abusers still alive, it would assist the Safeguarding authority and the police and welfare authorities to manage any new reports about those abusers most effectively.
Naturally, you could elect not to inform the Police or welfare if you wanted – or you would be able to allow the police or welfare to be informed even though you did not wish to receive their services yourself.
Helping Safeguarding Officers
There are two other compelling reasons why we should assist Safeguarding Officers as much as we can.
Firstly, we can advertise it on the blog and make the attached leaflet available on the blog. Guys may read it and get in touch themselves.
Secondly, we can encourage others – like our aching heart Boy X – who grieves me – and I think all of you – every time he writes on the blog – to get help – and the Safeguarding Officer, Philip Wright, will arrange for that.
Building the element of Safeguarding into our site will give it a new and important dimension.