“The Diocese understands that redress may take varying forms,” noted the statement. “As well as enabling the provision of financial redress, the Scheme includes the possibility of a personal apology on behalf of the Diocese and other ways of providing pastoral support. The Diocese will also support the provision of counselling via the Towards Healing service.”
The statement went on to say that “the Scheme will respond to applications where there are allegations of sexual abuse (including sexual grooming), which may or may not have been accompanied by physical and/or emotional abuse, and which occurred when the Applicant was under the age of 18. All applications will be assessed by an independent Panel, appointed via an independent process managed by a third party organisation.”
“In assessing applications the Panel will have regard to all the available information and make its decision on the balance of probabilities and on a majority basis. The process will fall outside the civil litigation process and be comparable to a mediation. It is anticipated that the process will be informal in nature but is intended to be binding on the parties should a resolution be agreed.”
Archbishop Eamon Martin said he is committed “to continuing his ongoing pastoral outreach to survivors, making himself available to meet with those victims who wish to share their story with him and to consider with him other ways in which their pain can be acknowledged and by which their healing can be assisted.”
About 70 people have come forward in the past 35 years to make allegations of abuse related to the diocese.