Had a very positive and encouraging conversation with the Catholic Safeguarding Officer Jo Norman today.

It’s early days yet, so it’s not possible to be precise the form it will take, but the wider issues relating to the De La Salle Order, St Joseph’s, AND the modern day St Joseph’s with its understated La Sallian connection, and how all this connects to the numerous testimonies of DLS abuse on this site will be looked at. How it all came about, in the context of the time and the culture within the relevant organizations.

Not just to ensure that survivors’ voices are FINALLY heard and acknowledged but to ensure that nothing like it could ever happen again.

Jo made some valuable general points that there is no statute of limitations on these cases – that they are regarded as CURRENT because our memories of these experiences as survivors is current.

That’s good news for me personally, because some of these teachers and their crimes still feel very current for me. Not just the obvious ones like Bros. James, Kevin, and Solomon. But the crafty ones who covered their tracks better whom no one would consider as abusers. ‘He’d never do that’ I hear so often from Old Boys and other defenders of these individuals. Those teachers are by far the worst in so far as I’ve had to spend more time making sense of them and their crimes. Sociopaths like Bro. James are straightforward by comparison because it’s so easy to recognize them.  I’m hoping there will be some progress on these more secretive abusers, too.

I told her Bro. James surname. But I don’t have Bro. Kevin’s surname. If anyone knows, I can pass it onto her.

She told me that every complaint is reported to the Charity Commission.

Religious organizations are accountable to the Catholic Safeguarding Standards agency which has 8 points they must adhere to. I must look at them later.

I’m very encouraged that there is a positive and full transparency approach to Catholic safeguarding today. Events really seemed to have moved on in the last year or so, possibly in response to IICSA.

I’m going to look at the disturbing Knights of St Columba/ De La Salle role in all this as a separate entity and talk  to Safeguarding about them separately. A similar exercise is needed there. If that proceeds – and I believe there is an exceptionally strong case for their investigation –  a similar independent investigator will be appointed.

Let’s see how it all rolls out in the months ahead, but it feels like there is definite progress.

I’ll keep everyone posted.

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