THINKING ANGLICANS

IICSA hearings into the Anglican Church

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will start three weeks of hearings into the Anglican Church [in England and Wales] on Monday 5 March.

There is voluminous information about IICSA, its other strands of investigation, and its other work, on its website.

IICSA summarises this investigation on its website thus:

An inquiry into the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church.

The Inquiry welcomed the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Inquiry to investigate, as a matter of priority, the sexual abuse of children within the Church. Allegations of child sexual abuse within the Church of England, the Church in Wales, and other Anglican churches operating in England and Wales (‘the Anglican Church’) are matters of ongoing public concern.

This investigation will assess the appropriateness of safeguarding and child protection policies and practices in the Anglican Church. It will consider the adequacy of the Past Cases Review of the Church of England and the Historic Cases Review of the Church in Wales. As a case study, we will consider the experience of the Diocese of Chichester, where there have been multiple allegations of sexual abuse, and numerous investigations and reviews. We will also consider the case of Peter Ball, formerly Bishop of Lewes and subsequently Bishop of Gloucester, and investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he was first accused of child sexual offences.

A further page gives more detail of the Scope of Investigation and this is also available as a pdf file.

Documentation relating to this particular investigation starts here.

Transcripts of the preliminary hearings can be found here, and this page will be updated with information daily throughout the next three weeks.

We will endeavour to report on its progress regularly.

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Mark BennetKen DaviesJeremyKelvin Holdsworth Recent comment authors
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Kelvin Holdsworth
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It is very worrying that both IICSA and the Church of England have referred to “the Anglican Church in England and Wales” as though that were a thing.

Governance issues matter hugely to this enquiry. The Church of England and the Church in Wales are governed very differently and there is no corporate body called the Anglican Church that exists which can take responsibility for anything.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

After reading Kelvin’s comment, I see the phrase “other Anglican churches operating in England and Wales” as part of the defined term “the Anglican Church.”

Is it too much to hope that a lawyer-led inquiry will be more careful in its terms?

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

The inquiry has already spent some time negotiating the devolved structures of the Roman Catholic Benedictines. I am sure they will go into who had the power/authority/legal standing to act at various stages. But I am quite sure that there will be some reflection on the risks inherent in devolved structures too.

Ken Davies
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Ken Davies

Mark Bennett refers to ‘the risks inherent in devolved structures’in relation to the Church in Wales. Is this just another example of English superiority, assuming that the Church in Wales is a product of the Blair government’s devolution programme? We are a completely separate Church (and have been since we were kicked out of the Church of England in 1920, when we also lost all our historic endowments). We have our own synodical, legal, liturgical and doctrinal structures – and are nothing whatsoever to do with the Church of England, apart from being a sister Province of the Anglican Communion,… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

Ken Davies – I didn’t mention the Church in Wales – that is not what I meant by “devolved”. I referenced the Benedictines because the Inquiry took pains to learn about governance and the independent authority of separate communities, and was simply commenting that I expect they will do the same with what they call “The Anglican Church” – which, by the way, may not be a legal entity, but has some identity in the public mind. The substance here is not what the governance structures are, but whether they facilitate or hinder safeguarding, and therefore whether they need to… Read more »