SCOTLAND's Catholic Church is dealing with an average of six allegations of abuse a year, half of them historic.

For the first time, the country's eight dioceses yesterday published full figures for complaints received against its clergy, volunteers and parishioners.

The Church, in an audit of abuse allegations involving children or vulnerable adults, said fully 27% of complaints were against individuals who are now dead. Some 55% of them were sexual in nature. There have been no prosecutions in respect of 61% of all cases.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, president of the Bishops' Conference, said: "We recognise the trauma and pain that survivors of abuse have suffered and we are committed to providing for them both justice and healing."

He said that 2013 had been "a test of faith" for Catholics but the Church was committed to "consolidation of our safeguarding practices, the renewal of trust in our unshakable commitment to atoning for abuse in the past, guarding against abuse in the present and eliminating abuse in the future, and supporting those who have been harmed".

It emerged in August that the Bishops' Conference had commissioned an independent examination into historic allegations of abuse back in 2011, but this was halted by the then-president, Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

He withdrew his support for the review a year before resigning over his own inappropriate sexual conduct.

The Church has published the results of its Diocesan Safeguarding Audits from 2006-12, giving a breakdown of reported incidents.

A total of 46 allegations were reported, of which 55% related to sexual abuse, 19% to physical abuse, 11% were allegations of verbal abuse and 15% were in connection with emotional abuse.

Of those accused, 56% were priests, 22% were volunteers, 11% were parishioners and the remainder were staff or other people connected to the church.

Catholics across Scotland were told at Mass on Sunday the audit was to be published.

The report revealed the ministry of almost a quarter (24%) of those accused had been restricted. A further 12% had been removed from their post, while 11% left voluntarily, 8% were dismissed, 3% were in prison and another 3% had been acquitted. The outcome of the remaining 11% of cases was unknown.

Helen Holland, a victim of sex abuse in the 1960s and 70s, welcome the audit as "a step in the right direction". But the campaigner warned the real hurt of historic abuse had still to be aired.

She said: "This is like picking at a scab and then putting a plaster on it. There is still bleeding under the plaster."

There are still questions over how the Church responded in the past to allegations of serious criminal activity, said Ms Holland, who went on to become a nun herself, but eventually left her order. "Moving those accused of abuse amounted, in my view," she said, "to an attempt to pervert the course of justice."

The audit also listed complaints made against religious orders - counted separately to those against the mainstream church - and amounting to 18 between 2009 and 2012.

The Church has also ordered a review of its safeguarding procedures, to be led by Andrew McLellan, a former Moderator Of The General Assembly Of The Church Of Scotland.

He said: "I am pleased to be able to help the Church in what has been for them a difficult year. But my first concern is not to support the Church: rather it is to seek the best protection of many vulnerable children and adults."

The Church will also compile numbers for all abuse claims made from 1947 to 2005.