Child abuse

Have your say

Might the recommendations of the McLellan Commission into child abuse in the Catholic Church have a wider application (your report, 19 August)?

In fact, are they not very close to what is likely to be recommended by the more general inquiries into this matter both south and north of the Border?

I would be surprised if Susan O’Brien QC or the Hon Lowell Goddard (the respective chairs for the inquiries in Scotland and England and Wales) come up with anything much different after years of investigation, and, no doubt, inevitable delays caused by the so-called “Maxwellisation” process.

The Reverend McLellan has come up with proposals that might be obvious even to the layman. No organisation, whether private or public, should be exempt from the most detailed scrutiny of how children in care, or even places where children have access, are treated.

There ought to be as common a standard of scrutiny as is practical; there ought to be genuine justice, for those who make credible allegations and those who are accused of abuse.

Training and development in how to deal with the problem should be universal, as should be an understanding of the importance of dealing with the matter in a competent and humane way. The question of compensation and support for survivors should be a matter dealt with at the very highest levels of government. It is almost a truism that even a small degree of power over children – as exists for example in children’s homes – gives the potential for harm. Many children may fear to speak out for the simple reason that they felt powerless for all sorts of psychological reasons.

Andrew McLellan has made a good start to identifying how the problem can be tackled within a religious organisation. His report may well become a beacon for all determined to wipe out a problem that scourges the body politic.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court