Independent inquiry launched into abuse cases in France


As announced in the press release of 23 December 2020, the Focolare Movement has commissioned GCPS Consulting to conduct the investigation into the abuse cases against J.M.M., a former member of the Focolare in France. Although J.M.M. has been prosecuted in relation to one victim, it is understood there is a large number of other victims who may wish to speak about their experiences within the Focolare Movement.

GCPS Consulting is an independent body that specialises in helping organisations to ensure the safety of children as well as vulnerable or ‘at risk’ groups and to improve their abuse prevention and reporting systems. It also conducts independent investigations and case reviews on behalf of organisations.

The Inquiry began in January 2021 and will close at the end of the year, when its results will be made public. Work has already begun listening to victims and gathering witness testimony.

To find out in detail the terms of the investigation GCPS Consulting has made public the relevant section of the contract, published on a dedicated Inquiry website

As stated in the document, there are the four main elements of the Inquiry:

– To investigate the sexual abuse crimes committed by J.M.M., reviewing the details and assessing the context;

– To establish the degree of knowledge of these events on the part of Focolare’s persons in charge at the time and/or subsequently;

– To provide recommendations on the current arrangements put in place by the Focolare in France and elsewhere for the protection of minors; and

– To produce a public report outlining the findings of the investigation and the recommendations that stemmed from it.

In order to ensure that the Inquiry process is as victim-centred as possible, GCPS Consulting has shared and evaluated the proposed process with some victims to ensure it meets their expectations.

It has also provided a contact page on the Inquiry website dedicated to receiving testimonies, requests, or suggestions from the victims and anyone wishing to get in touch with the Independent Inquiry.

The Focolare Movement encourages anyone with information relating to J.M.M to make contact with the Inquiry via this webpage . It is possible to contact the GCPS Inquiry team confidentially by phone, email or using the site’s contact form.

In order to guarantee the full independent nature of the investigation, the Focolare Movement has accepted GCPS Consulting’s invitation to maintain a “press silence” on matters related to J.M.M.’s case until the final report is published.

Therefore, from now on the decision to make statements or respond to media enquiries relating to this abuse case will be solely at the discretion of GCPS Consulting.

Stefania Tanesini

For the Media: contact GCPS Consulting for this case: info@gcps.consulting

 

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