Catholic Church in England conducts review of child safety practices

The Roman Catholic Church said it has conducted a full review of child safety practices in the South West of England after a paedophile abuse investigator was jailed for 12 months for child porn offences.

Christopher Jarvis (aged 49) a married father-of-four, was employed by the church in 2002 as a child safety coordinator following the 2001 Nolan Report on abuse by members of the clergy, with a remit to investigate historic claims of child abuse, including interviewing the victims when they were adults.

As a member of the Devon and Cornwall Multi-agency Safeguarding Team, he also worked with police officers and social services and had access to private information about vulnerable victims of child abuse.

But he was arrested in March this year after uploading five images of pre-pubescent boys on to the Ning social networking website.

Police officers who traced him to his home in Plymouth, Devon, found more than 4,000 child porn images on his church-supplied computer and a memory stick, including scenes of child rape. They were mainly of boys aged 10 to 12, but also some of young girls, the court heard.

In a statement released after the court hearing, David Pond, the chairman of the independent Child Safeguarding Commission for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth, said an independent review of child protection across the South West of England, including cases Jarvis had been involved with, had been carried out by the NSPCC charity and found no evidence that he had acted improperly in his role with the church.

“The church is and remains absolutely committed to ensuring that a safe environment exists for all in the church, and the knowledge that Jarvis was himself guilty of such offences has been a great shock to the many people who had placed their trust in him and worked with him to protect vulnerable children and adults,” he said.

“He was a fully qualified social worker and came to the role following a competitive recruitment process being of good character and with very good references.

“We need to be continually vigilant and aware of the need to have reliable checks and controls in place to manage the risk to vulnerable children and adults and we will continue to review and improve our responses to all forms of abuse.

“As well as safe systems, we are considering how best to support all those who suffer as a direct result of abuse.

“It is important to remember that the images on the computer screen are not just pictures – they are images of real children being abused, often in the most terrifying of circumstances.”

More in this Section

Children hit by lightning in Paris park

Man extradited from Ireland charged with attempted murder in the UK

Afghan migrant dies after being hit by truck in Calais

Everything you need to know about the Zika virus


You might also like

Today's Stories

Is it the end of the road for antibiotics?

‘Hiroshima must never fade from memory’, says Barack Obama

Cream made from green tea may prevent stretch marks

Pro-Brexit campaign offers €66m prize for predicting Euro 16 results

Lifestyle

Labels to watch out for: Five Irish designers you need to know about

Orla Brady on playing designer and architect Eileen Gray in new movie

Highlights from the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine

What to watch on TV this week

More From The Irish Examiner