The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published the following Press Release on its report into the Ampleforth and Downside hearings; this was part of a broader investigation into the Roman Catholic Church.
Inquiry publishes report into Ampleforth and Downside
The report highlights the evidence heard by the Inquiry of appalling sexual abuse inflicted over decades on children as young as seven at Ampleforth and 11 at Downside.
It also concludes that there was a culture of acceptance of abusive behaviour and the prioritisation of monks and their reputations over the protection of children.
Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry, said:
“For decades Ampleforth and Downside tried to avoid giving any information about child sexual abuse to police and social services. Instead, monks in both institutions were very often secretive, evasive and suspicious of anyone outside the English Benedictine Congregation.
“Safeguarding children was less important than the reputation of the Church and the wellbeing of the abusive monks. Even after new procedures were introduced in 2001, when monks gave the appearance of co-operation and trust, their approach could be summarised as a ‘tell them nothing’ attitude.”
The Press Release includes the following links to its glossary.
Child sexual abuse Sexual abuse of children involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities. The activities may involve physical contact and non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse including via the internet. Child sexual abuse includes child sexual exploitation.