December 12, 2011

Audits of six Irish Catholic dioceses reveal "a marked improvement" in how the Church is handling clerical abuse allegations.

However, the reviews, carried out by the independent National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church and released Nov. 30, also show that, in the past, too much emphasis was put on the rights of accused priests and protecting the reputation of the Church.

Each review found evidence that insufficient attention was paid to the suffering of victims and the long-term consequences of abuse.

Ian Elliott, chief executive of the safeguarding children board, said the audits show that "reporting allegations to the statutory authorities (now) occurs promptly and comprehensively."

He said that "represents a major development, as past practice did not always reflect this commitment."