Catholic Church urged to do more to protect children as review group calls for better support for victims of abuse

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The Catholic Church must do more to protect children from abuse in Scotland, a review group has recommended.

Survivors of abuse by clergy should also be better supported, according to the Independent Review Group (IRG).

The IRG was set up by the Church in 2017 to monitor its response to a major review of safeguarding and child protection.

The group wants the Church to review the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service (SCSS), saying a strengthened, independent and resourced service is a “crucial step to promote transparency and restore credibility”.

The IRG also wants each diocese to have a clear policy statement on access and support for survivors and an independent person they can approach for advice.

Group chairwoman Baroness Helen Liddell said: “There needs to be a change in culture, in capacity, in capability… we have found a willingness to adopt that change, but true progress can only come about as a result of deep analysis of strengths and weaknesses.”

The IRG report states: “Much still needs to be done to ensure victims of abuse are seen, heard and supported by the Church.”

Bishop Joseph Toal, who ­oversees the SCSS, welcomed the report and said it would be given serious consideration.

He said: “We are determined to apply what we learn, both from the steps we have already taken and from the IRG’s report.”