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McLellan Report asks Scottish Catholic Church to Apologise to Abuse Survivors

The McLellan Commission concluded yesterday with a call for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland to prioritise support services for abuse survivors and for the Church to make a public apology.

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In what he deemed “the greatest challenge facing the whole Catholic Church in Scotland”, Dr Andrew McLellan CBE, Chair of The McLellan Commission, has made recommendations aimed at making the Church in Scotland “a safe place for all.”

The Commission was set up in 2014 following allegations of abuse at a number of Scottish Catholic institutions, such as Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands.

Support for Abuse Survivors in Scotland – An Absolute Priority

The McLellan Report has made eight key recommendations to Scotland’s Catholic Bishops to help improve support services and protect vulnerable people from abuse.

Making support for abuse survivors an “absolute priority” is listed first in the recommendations, with a call for the Church to make a public apology to all survivors. Referring to the apologies made by Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, the report says, “Bringing healing to survivors of abuse begins with an apology, continues with repentance and ends with action. Apologies are often difficult to hear, but they must be made.”

The report also recommends that the safeguarding policies and practices of the Scottish Catholic Church be completely revised and be subject to external scrutiny.

It also called for justice to be done for survivors of abuse.

Will the McLellan Report Lead to Change in the Scottish Catholic Church?

When the Commission was established in 2014, Dr McLellan described it as “a significant opportunity to bring about material change”.

Dr McLellan said yesterday that The Bishops' Conference of Scotland have “said from the outset” that they will accept the recommendations of the McLellan Commission and made references to how the Catholic Church in Scotland will begin to “heal the hurt” and “begin to confront a dark part of its past.”

A major problem in the past though has been a reluctance on the part of the Catholic Church to investigate and report allegations of sexual abuse.

Richard Scorer, Head of the Abuse Team at Slater and Gordon UK and author of Betrayed, said, “We welcome the recommendations made by Dr McLellan in his report and trust that the Catholic Church will take on board the findings of the Commission by issuing an apology, and ensure that support is put in place for survivors of abuse within the Church as a matter of priority.”

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have the UK’s most experienced team of Abuse Lawyers and are currently representing over 800 survivors of abuse, including people who have been abused by members of the Catholic Church.

We are currently advising a number of people in connection with alleged non-recent sexual abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey School (now closed) and Carlekemp School.

Coming forward and speaking out about abuse takes a lot of courage and that is something we fully understand and appreciate. We offer a free, completely confidential consultation for abuse survivors and can provide immediate legal representation and support from anywhere in the UK.

For more information, call us on freephone 0800 916 9046. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, contact us online and tell us where and when you’d like us to call you.