In November 2020, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (“IICSA”) published the final report in relation to child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The final report stated, among other conclusions and criticisms, that the Catholic Church appeared at times to care more about the impact of abuse on the Church’s reputation than on the victims.
The Catholic Church created the CSSA and published an Action Plan in response to the IICSA report.
The CSSA creates a professional standard to which all Catholic Dioceses and Religious Life Groups in England and Wales will be accountable. This means that the body will be able to sanction clergy who do not meet those standards.
Mr Nazir Afzal has been appointed as chair of the CSSA. His appointment is said to represent “a seismic shift in culture” that is desperately needed.
He was the former Chief Crown Prosecutor in the Rochdale grooming gang cases as the Chair of their new safeguarding agency.
The CSSA also appoints Stephen Ashley as the Deputy Chair. He is a former Assistant Chief Constable who authored a Home Office report on the conduct of the police during the investigations into sex offences committed by former television personality Jimmy Savile.