New Zealander Appointed to Vatican Commission on child abuse

Pope Francis has announced additional appointees to his newly established Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors overnight in Rome. Among the appointments from around the world is New Zealand man Mr Bill Kilgallon who is the Director of the National Office for Professional Standards of the Catholic Church in New Zealand.

Pope Francis announced the Commission last December for the protection of minors seeks to give a model for practices that provide an adequate and pastoral response to situations of abuse. Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as chair of the commission.

On behalf of the Bishops of New Zealand, Archbishop John Dew said “it is pleasing to us that a New Zealander can contribute to the very important work of the Commission, Bill has been in New Zealand for the past four years, for some of that time as Director of the National Office for Professional Standards where he oversees the investigation and resolution of complaints of abuse, as well as improving procedures and education as preventative measures. Prior to that he had a long career in social work and health services in the United Kingdom.

“We’re blessed that someone of his international experience and professionalism is working in this area in New Zealand and he can now contribute through the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors whose aim is to propose the necessary changes to ensure the protection of minors throughout the global Church.” said Archbishop John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

“As he begins this work we offer our congratulations and prayerful support to Bill and the people and work of the Commission.” Said Archbishop Dew

Bill Kilgallon said that “In accepting this role I’m very aware of the responsibility it entails as the Church across the world learns from the past, brings together best practice and works to make changes now and for the future.”
“The Commission made a statement following their first meeting, saying that as they work to establish the structure and parameters of their work programme ‘that, from the very beginning of our work, we have adopted the principle that the best interests of a child or vulnerable adult are primary when any decision is made.’ and this is certainly true for my contribution to this work.” Mr Kilgallon said.


Bill Kilgallon is Director of the National Office for Professional Standards of the Catholic Church in New Zealand. He moved to New Zealand from the UK at the end of 2010.

Bill Kilgallon was born in Ireland but his family moved to England when he was a child. He is married with three sons. He was Chief Executive of St Anne’s Community Services from 1978 to 2002, having founded the organisation in 1971. St Anne’s provides a range of housing and social care services for homeless people, people with mental health, alcohol and drug problems and people with learning disabilities across Yorkshire and the North East of England.

He served on a number of government advisory bodies on mental health, learning disabilities and social work education. He was an elected councillor on Leeds City Council from 1979- 1992 and was a member of Health Services management boards from 1978 to 2002.

From 2003 to 2007 he was Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence established by the UK government to determine what works in social care and to develop policy and practice guidelines. From 2007 to 2010 he was Chief Executive of St Gemma’s Hospice, Leeds.

He has led and served a number of independent inquiries, including inquiries into abuse in institutions. He was a member of a review into the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church in England and Wales which in 2007 recommended a restructuring of the Church’s safeguarding arrangements. He was appointed in 2008 as the first chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission responsible for setting policies and procedures and monitoring compliance by the dioceses and religious orders in England and Wales.