“A significant amount of progress has been made by the Catholic bishops and eparchs, as measured by the compliance audit process,” reported the Gavin Group.
“Some dioceses and eparchies have exceeded expectations by fully implementing the charter and establishing themselves as role models for other dioceses and eparchies,” says the report. “For a variety of reasons, such as limited resources, personnel shortages, and lack of direction and training, some dioceses and eparchies will have to take additional actions to be fully compliant with the entire charter.
“Neither this audit process nor the full and complete implementation of the charter will provide a total guarantee that there will never be another case of child or youth sexual abuse committed by a member of the Catholic clergy,” says the report. “However, the continuous efforts of bishops, eparchs, clergy, and the laity to address this problem will foster a greater degree of confidence that children and young people will be safe and secure in Catholic Church environments”.
Recommendations for dealing with sexual abuse
Auditors also made 52 recommendations on how the Catholic Church might better address the problem of sexual abuse of minors. While the audit was designed to measure the implementation of the charter at the diocesan level, auditors recommended that the charter be implemented at the parish level as well.
“This is particularly important because children and young people are most involved in church activities at the parish level,” says the report.
Among their many recommendations, auditors said each bishop should meet with each person who has made an allegation of sexual abuse and encourage victims to come forward through periodic public announcements.
Auditors also recommended that each diocese provide to the Office of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board, on an annual basis, the number of allegations of sexual abuse reported during that year and the status of these cases.