The following update regarding progress on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the NBSCCCI’s Review of Safeguarding Practice of May 2014 has been submitted to the CEO of the National Board.
Publication of Review of Safeguarding Practice
at Glenstal Abbey
The Abbot of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman OSB, welcomed today’s publication by the NBSCCCI of the report of its Review of Safeguarding Practice at Glenstal Abbey:
I am happy that this report is being published today and I fully accept the findings made by the reviewers. Reading it, my thoughts and prayers are primarily for those who have been abused by members of our community, and I apologise to them unreservedly on behalf of the Glenstal community. I pray that the God of peace will bring healing, and I guarantee our commitment to the safeguarding of young people in Glenstal now and in the future.
We asked for this Review and cooperated fully with the NBSCCCI at all stages of the process. And so I am very pleased that our efforts to ensure that Glenstal is the safest possible environment for young people have been recognised and endorsed in this report. Yet, there is no room for complacency. Ensuring that young people who come to Glenstal are kept safe is an ongoing task, and requires from us constant education, vigilance and review. We are committed to this task, and today’s report and recommendations will help shape our safeguarding efforts for the future. Work on implementing the recommendations has already begun.
I urge anyone who has experienced abuse and has not yet come forward to do so, either to us here in Glenstal or to the Gardaí or the Child and Family Agency.
Today’s report forms part of the fifth tranche of Reviews carried out by the NBSCCCI in dioceses and religious orders and congregations in Ireland. Reports on several other church bodies are also being published today. The reviews have two objectives – to establish how concerns of child abuse have been managed in the past; and to evaluate the efforts that have been made to create safe environments for children to ensure their current and future safety. Evaluation is carried out according to 48 criteria listed in the document Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance. The Review found that Glenstal Abbey meets 44 of these criteria fully and the remaining four partially.
The Review took place over two days, November 19th and 20th 2013, and involved the reading of case management files, interviewing safeguarding personnel and examining documents that outline the monastery’s child safeguarding policy and practices.
A total of ten safeguarding allegations have been made against six members of the Glenstal community. Half of these pertain to alleged offences in locations other than Glenstal. Of the six monks concerned, two are now deceased, two are no longer members of the community and one lives in retirement under a supervision contract. The allegation against the sixth monk was found to have no basis in fact. The report found that “in general, the Benedictine Community in Glenstal Abbey has managed the concerns that have arisen well”. The reviewers also commend Glenstal’s openness and transparency with the parent body of Glenstal Abbey School and the good spirit of cooperation which exists with the Gardaí, HSE and the NBSCCCI itself in dealing with these allegations.
As part of the monastic community’s commitment to best practice in safeguarding, a comprehensive guide, Safeguarding Children Policies & Procedures, was produced in January 2013. All monks, staff and volunteers in Glenstal must abide by these policies and procedures. The report refers to this booklet several times, describing it as “an excellent and comprehensive document”, “well presented and … easy to read and to understand”, and “well thought out in its format and comprehensive in its content”.
The report particularly highlights Glenstal’s commitment to making its school a safe place for children and young people, commending the Board of Management and the monastic community for putting in place “an excellent network of important and connected policies and procedures to keep children safe”. The school’s policy against bullying is described as “an exemplar of its kind”.
Overall, the reviewers report that they were “impressed that the monastic community at Glenstal are aware of and take seriously their responsibilities towards any person who has been identified to them as having been abused at any time by one of their number”.
The full report is available for download below:
Glenstal Abbey Safeguarding Contact Information is available here
Towards Healing (Counselling and Support Service)
P.O. Box 5654, Dundrum, Dublin 14
Tel: 1800 303416