Welsh clerics will report sex abusers

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The Independent Online
MORE than 8,000 clergy and members of the Church in Wales have signed a child protection declaration that they will agree to police checks designed to weed out paedophiles.

Child protection panels have been set up in each of the dioceses, and later this month the Church in Wales governing body will hear a report which says that clergy who hear confessions should make the welfare of children paramount.

"Matters of conflicting loyalty or responsibility, such as the seal of the confessional, should be clarified, in discussions with the bishop if necessary," says a report prepared for the governing body.

It adds, "Evidence or suggestions of physical abuse, neglect, emotional or sexual abuse in a child should never be ignored. This may include evidence of bruises, challenging behaviour, sexualised behaviours, constant hunger, inadequate clothing or supervision, or involvement in child pornography."

It goes on,"Every individual has a responsibility to report immediate, serious concerns about the care of a child urgently to the proper authorities, usually social services. Any rumours concerned child protection issues must be dealt with urgently."

Church spokesman, the Rev David Williams, said recently: "The report is making the point that the welfare of the child transcends everything else. The declaration people have signed says that they are not aware of anything in their past backgrounds that makes them unsuitable to work with children, and giving permission for a police check to make sure there is no record of a conviction."

In the child protection document, the church says that every parish has a duty to provide a safe environment for children by ensuring that any disclosure, discovery or suspicion of abuse is dealt with in an appropriate way.

Bishops are responsible for appointing diocesan child protection officers who will set up child protection groups made up of six to eight professionals.

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