Co. Derry woman Teresa Devlin appointed by Pope Francis to child protection commission

County Derry woman Teresa Devlin has been appointed by Pope Francis to the Catholic Church’s commission for the protection of children, Archbishop Eamon Martin confirmed on Friday.

Teresa Devlin
Teresa Devlin

Ms. Devlin, who is from Magherafelt, is currently the CEO of the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCCI) in Ireland.

She has been newly appointed by the Pope as a new member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

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Welcoming the appointment on Friday Archbishop Martin said: “I am aware that Pope Francis seeks to appoint those people from around the world to this Commission, who have demonstrated a deep commitment to safeguarding and to developing wide expertise and best practice. I congratulate Teresa on her appointment.

“Teresa has worked with the National Board since 2009 and took up the post as CEO in January 2015. Teresa’s appointment is therefore also an international recognition of the work of the National Board and the significant contribution it has made to assist the Church in Ireland to put in place robust child safeguarding measures.

"Working with the National Board Teresa has adopted a professional and supportive, but challenging approach, always insistent that we in the Church continually monitor, evaluate and review our policy and practice in this area.

“Teresa’s appointment also gives me the opportunity to thank the many hundreds of women and men who work at parish and diocesan level throughout Ireland ensuring that all activity in the Church is carried out with the utmost attention given to safeguarding best practice for children and vulnerable persons.”

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The Archbishop said he has worked with Ms. Devlin over the last twelve years and that he is familiar with her ‘determination to support the Church in ensuring that the pastoral environment is always safe for children’.

She is also determined to ensure that ‘all allegations are immediately reported to the relevant statutory authorities and are processed fully in accordance with civil and canon law; and, that those who have been harmed as a result of abuse are responded to with care and compassion’, said Archbishop Martin.

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“I am confident that Teresa will work positively with the Commission and bring her extensive experience of working with the Catholic Church in Ireland to the sharing and development of safeguarding best practice initiatives across the global Church.

"It is also my hope that Teresa’s presence on such an important international body will help bring back to Ireland fresh insights for the benefit of safeguarding in this country.”

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According to the NBSCCCI Ms. Devlin has a background in social science, social studies and psychology, and has an advanced diploma in child protection.

She has extensive experience in child protection management and family support, both at the levels of senior management and in the specific areas of risk assessment and care planning.

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Before recently joining the NBSCCCI, she served for four years as Head of Research Policy and Service Review at the office of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY).