Frances Fitzgerald TD
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
Finally, I want to publicly acknowledge the major contribution made by Mr. Elliott. He has been instrumental, as Chief Executive of the Safeguarding Board, in developing and monitoring the implementation of improved safeguarding standards across the Catholic Church. The integrity and objectivity he has brought to this process have been hallmarks of the work of the Safeguarding Board and have brought great public credibility to the huge work under way to improve safeguarding practices within the Church.
Outside General Counsel for the Archdiocese of Denver; Special Counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Personal Counsel to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
Mr. Elliott served as the main liaison to victims for an entity whose historic leaders were accused of fostering an environment that led to physical and sexual abuse of minors, physical and sexual abuse of adults and a range of other serious claims. Almost all of the claimed wrongs were decades old, but the continuing impact on many individuals who had experienced this culture was current. Because of Mr. Elliott’s professionalism and ability to listen and truly hear victims’ stories, Mr. Elliott was able to reach out to and assist victims in a way that was transformational – not only for the individuals involved, but also for those accused and the entity itself. He was forthright and honest in his feedback to the current entity leadership, and he guided them to work toward being a model in preventing these issues from ever occurring again. Because of Mr. Elliot’s guidance and unique knowledge and experience in these matters, the group was able to help dozens of victims to heal, develop new policies and procedures and continue the work to change its culture in direct response to the needs of the victims and their historic experiences with the entity.
Mr. Elliott is a person of integrity who brings a strong sense of ethics and a critical perspective to this unique work. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from many exceptional victims’ advocates and social work professionals; of all these, Mr. Elliott is simply the best in the field. I welcome the opportunity to work with him again in the future.
Acting Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance
The Children’s Rights Alliance salutes the achievements of outgoing CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, Ian Elliott. Mr. Elliott’s work has undoubtedly had a real impact on children and we thank him for his all his hard work. His tenacity helped kick start a national response to child abuse. Furthermore, his work has contributed to the establishment of a robust office and an enduring mechanism for ensuring that child protection practices are firmly embedded into the Catholic Church. Yesterday’s publication of an additional seven review reports provides us with further evidence of how Catholic dioceses and religious congregations are engaging with the issue of child protection.
Ian Elliott will be leaving his post at the end of May having completed two three-year contracts with the Board and having overseen the reviews of 16 of the 26 Catholic dioceses. The Board was set up in 2006 as an independent body to ensure best practice and the safeguarding of children in the Catholic Church. Mr Elliott and his staff have fulfilled this function admirably, and during a time of great national trauma and grief over the revelation of widespread clerical child abuse. Mr. Elliott has commented that he has met with considerable resistance in the carrying out of his functions and, therefore, we hope that the good work that he has overseen to date will be continued.
Most Reverend Leo O’Reilly DD
Bishop of Kilmore, Catholic Church in Ireland
Mr Ian Elliott was Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) during a crucial phase of the development of child safeguarding policy and practice in the Catholic Church in Ireland, 2008 – 2013. He came into the post from a very senior position in safeguarding children Northern Ireland and with a most impressive track record in the field of child welfare. His expertise and his experience in all areas relating to the safeguarding of children are widely acknowledged as being of the highest calibre. He enjoys a national profile and is highly respected both by statutory bodies and the general public alike. His courage and determination in insisting on the highest standards of practice in relation to safeguarding children, and in dealing with allegations of abuse against children, have been amply demonstrated in the course of his work for the Catholic Church in Ireland in recent years.
Mr Elliott has made a huge contribution to the policy and practice of safeguarding children in the Catholic Church in a very short time. He moved the emphasis from dealing with crises to putting in place practical guidelines, as well as structures for training and monitoring at all levels. He brought about a change of culture which requires consistency of good practice throughout the Church and a culture of constant learning and vigilance.
In my dealings with Mr Elliott, I have always found him to be very professional and I have found his advice and assistance invaluable. He expects high standards but is also consistently courteous, fair and unfailingly helpful.
I will be very sorry to see him depart his role in the National Office for Safeguarding Children and I wish him every success in his continuing work in providing services for the safeguarding of children.
Most Reverend Michael Neary DD
Archbishop of Tuam, Catholic Church in Ireland
Mr Ian Elliott is known to me through his work for the Conference of Bishops in the capacity of Chief Executive Officer of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland. I became acquainted with him and his work shortly after his appointment to this position in 2007. During 2011 Mr.Elliott conducted an audit of the safeguarding practices in this Archdiocese, which included an analysis of the management of historical cases. On foot of this work by him and his colleagues, a report was published in November of that year. Apart from this very intensive and prolonged contact I have frequently before and since had occasion to consult him and to discuss safeguarding issues with him and his office.
I have found Mr. Elliott a person of the highest professional and moral calibre. In all of his work here and in all of the contact we have had I have never had any occasion to doubt either his professional competence or his integrity. Indeed, I have been deeply impressed by him in all of these regards. I have frequently had occasion to rely on his judgement and professionalism in the most serious matters and have never regretted doing so. His deep and patently sincere concern for the welfare of children is matched by the greatest energy and professionalism in promoting that welfare within the Catholic Church in Ireland. He has made this cause his own and his commitment to the same is evident in his work and achievements, the latter amounting to a steady transformation of the Church’s attitude and practices in this area.
In Mr. Elliott’s analysis of our practices here, both present and past, he was diligent, precise, firm and utterly fair. I may say that his availability and the quality of his support has made an enormous difference for good. His experience and expertise combined with courage, consistency and determination has resulted in reassurance and an experience of liberation in my own work situation. The respect in which he is held by the statutory bodies and the general public is testimony to his exacting standards and demands for compliance in dealing with allegations thereby creating a culture of watchful vigilance. I have no hesitation in stating that I trust him completely and am convinced that the Church in Ireland will require his services for some time to come. It is, in my opinion, absolutely essential that we have consistency of approach and that Mr. Elliott be supported in bringing the entirety of his work for the Catholic Church in Ireland to a satisfactory conclusion.
Dr Monica Applewhite
When the Catholic Church in the Republic of Ireland needed to develop a system of reform and accountability, the leadership wisely chose Ian Elliott. He is a man of great integrity who had the background, experience and tenacity to design the protocols, communicate the expectations and motivate leaders to meet the challenges of large scale organizational change. For Mr. Elliott, there is no task of child protection that is too complex or too daunting. He simply puts his head down and gets the job done.
Supporter for Accused Priest
Mr. Elliott is known to me in his capacity as Safeguarding Consultant. I chose to consult with him based on my knowledge of his excellent work in the area of Safeguarding whilst C.E.O. of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
I required his expertise and observation on a Case Management scenario relating to a priest out of ministry for considerable length of time, whose situation fails to be brought to resolution by the Church Authority.
I sought observation on the plight of an accused person’s rights in the area of Safeguarding along with the question of the presumption of innocence. These principles appear to have been forgotten in the Case I referred to Mr. Elliott.
I found Mr. Elliott’s observation in his Report, on the facts / information provided to him, of the highest standard, his concern for best practice is evident throughout. It was comprehensive, objective and fair. His comments were precise and eloquently expressed. He displayed profound insight into the magnitude of the situation. His advice relating to progress was constructive and systematic. His deep concern for justice and proper procedure is inspiring. Overall, Mr. Elliott’s observation sheds new light on methods, best, to advance progress in a process which had reached stagnation point.
He approaches his work with integrity and high moral calibre. I found his approach to time allocated to the task honourable and noble. His response was prompt and professional. The tone of his communication captures his sincerity of sentiment. I feel the decision to consult with him is a watershed in the Case referred to him.
Engagement with Mr. Elliott in his capacity as Safeguarding Consultant was an extremely positive experience.
Director, Improve Ltd
In my work with Ian Elliott, I have observed his ability to draw upon a wealth of knowledge and experience to make critical insights and informed judgements. His interactions with the people he works with are engaging and insightful and he has demonstrated the ability to hold people to account and to affect change. An honest and trustworthy advisor whose integrity is beyond question, I look forward to future assignments with Ian.
Major Janet Robson
Youth and Children’s Officer, The Salvation Army
Thankful for Ian’s expertise and his ability to share it in a way that is accessible to all.
Religious Correspondent of the Irish Times [25th April 2013]
It is doubtful whether the Catholic Church on this island has ever owed as much to a Presbyterian where restoring its credibility is concerned.