Thinking Anglicans

Sexual abuse survivors speak out at General Synod

Survivors of sexual abuse in the Church of England are planning to make their presence felt at the General Synod on Saturday of this week, when a presentation on the topic of Safeguarding will take place, followed by an opportunity for synod members to ask questions.

This press release has been issued:

Victims and survivors speak out about their treatment by the Church of England

On Saturday 10th February the Church of England’s General Synod will hear a presentation about the church’s approach to safeguarding. The presentation is intended to prepare synod members for the forthcoming hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). IICSA will turn its focus onto the Church of England beginning on Monday 5th March.

Victims and survivors of abuse within the the church fear that their voices are rarely heard. To address this they have produced a booklet called We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones (linked below) in which they address the church powerfully and painfully in their own words. The booklet consists entirely of victims’ words, collated with an introduction by victims’ advocate Andrew Graystone. The title is a reference to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:9 “Which of you, if your child asked for bread, would give them a stone.” The booklet will be delivered this week to every member of the General Synod, including every diocesan bishop and archbishop.

Representative victims of church abuse are also inviting the archbishops, bishops and all members of the General Synod to meet them at 9am on Saturday morning at the entrance to Church House, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, and to stand with them for two minutes of silent reflection prior to the safeguarding presentation. By this act they invite synod members to affirm the intention of the church to act justly towards victims of abuse both now and in the future.

A further statement will be issued on behalf of victims at 1pm on Saturday 10th February, following the synod presentation.

Monday 5th – Sunday 11th February 2018 is also Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

For further information please contact Andrew Graystone via andrew.graystone1@btinternet.com

Stones Not Bread

This has already been reported in Christian Today Some serving bishops have been abused, says campaigner in victims booklet sent to CofE synod members.

Earlier this week, there was a report in the Sunday Times about a particular case. The newspaper report is behind a paywall, but the link to it is here: Justin Welby ‘blocked’ payouts to abused pupils.

There is a related press release:
Church’s institutional failure to exercise pastoral care over abuse settlements

Julian Whiting was subjected to rape and molestation at the Bluecoat School in Birmingham as well, as much later as an adult, sexually inappropriate behaviour by a senior Lambeth Palace official. They have ruined his life. He received a pitiful settlement in respect of both matters which were acknowledged by the institutions.

He wrote a letter of complaint to Archbishop Welby on 22nd January but is yet to receive a response. The letter is shown below.

Julian said: “I have struggled for years to obtain appropriate compensation, which despite huge efforts over many years I have failed to receive. Even direct approaches to Justin Welby have proved fruitless. The Church’s warm words about pastoral care for abuse survivors are empty and meaningless. There is a complete mismatch between the Church’s and the Archbishop’s words on this and their inaction.

“I wrote to the Archbishop to set this out in detail and am making the letter public in an attempt to improve the situation for the many who have received paltry settlements but are too traumatised by their abuse to fight back.

“The letter was written following an abortive meeting with Tim Thornton Bishop at Lambeth, the person to whom Justin Welby had soon before nominated to deal on his behalf with abuse settlements, specifically for “Gilo” another survivor in a similar position. Bishop Thornton failed even to signpost me to any assistance I could receive. He suggested to me that I alone would have to continue this long fight. Any further money would not come from the Church but have to come from the insurance company (Ecclesiastical Insurance Group). This is despite EIG having stated, as he could not but have been aware, it would not reopen claims and it invite the Church to make any supplementary settlements itself.

“I am particularly incensed that Justin Welby himself even claimed brazenly through a legal spokesperson to me that he did not have access to funds for such a purpose. For the head of the Anglican Communion, with at least £8 billion in realisable funds, as Bishop Thornton acknowledged, to claim this is, as I wrote in the letter “beyond contempt and … does [Justin Welby] no credit”.

“My lawyers originally asked for around £150,000 but I only received £5,000 damages (excluding costs and therapy fees). I was unable to take this to court to receive a higher amount because doing so would have exposed me to massive costs including those of the insurance company, and risked bankrupting me. Had I realised I would only receive £5,000 I would not have subjected myself to this humiliating and traumatic process. This trauma included being subjected to a demeaning adversarial cross examination by a doctor.

“The Church’s failure to consider a reasonable settlement and the adversarial process of reaching the claim figure, solely because the Church unnecessarily employs an insurance company to settle its claims, has materially compounded the abuse by the vile acts to which I was subjected.

“It is clear that, to what should be its shame, the Church does not even have a process to deal with supplementing abuse settlements on pastoral grounds. Given the Church’s appalling record in this area, claims should be assessed by a completely independent body. I urge the Church to set up and fund one so that the many others receiving such pitiful settlements could have them reviewed and supplemented.

“I pay tribute to Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), led by Phil Johnson, for their invaluable support to me and other survivors.”

Letter to Archbishop

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