Updated Thursday noon
Due to a BBC report this week and comments on social media the National Safeguarding Team has issued a statement to clarify details of the case.
Matthew Ineson’s case has been taken very seriously since it came to our attention. The account of the abuse he suffered as a teenager is harrowing and we are aware that the death of his alleged perpetrator, Trevor Devamanikkan, before he could stand trial, was extremely difficult for Matthew Ineson. We were not aware of any previous attempts by Trevor Devamanikkan on his own life; had we known we obviously would have commissioned a risk assessment. Once the Church was aware of the criminal investigation, the Church made offers of support to Trevor Devamanikkan, which he refused.
We can confirm that the Archbishop of York responded to a letter he received from Matthew Ineson in June 2013, in which Matthew Ineson enclosed a copy of a letter to him from the then Bishop of Sheffield and his own response to the Bishop. The Archbishop did not fail to act on any disclosure made. As the Diocesan Bishop has responsibility for matters such as these in their diocese, this is a matter for the Diocesan Bishop to inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (Protecting All God’s Children – the Policy for Safeguarding Children in the Church of England, section 4.5). For this reason, the Archbishop acknowledged Matthew Ineson’s letter and assured him of his prayers.
As regards to a memo addressed to the Archbishop of York in June 2017 which refers to survivors in the plural, the Archbishop of York’s Office have already explained this was simply human error. We have worked closely with the police throughout and we have only ever dealt with one victim. This was double-checked with the police last week.
As we have said before there are currently complaints from Matthew Ineson himself, which are being investigated under the Clergy Discipline Measure. Once these complaints have been dealt with, the Core Group, which is the Church’s response to any allegations of abuse, has already decided that an independent review of the case will be commissioned.
It is not possible to go into any further details of this case.
Update The statement above was issued by publication on the CofE website (with a notification on Twitter) at around 2 pm on Wednesday. Matt Ineson has reported on Twitter that he was not told about this statement by the National Safeguarding Team, and indeed has not been contacted by them for about two months.
The Archbishop Cranmer blog on Thursday published this article by Martin Sewell: Abuse victim: “The cruel and inhuman treatment I have received from the National Safeguarding Team in Church House, and others in the Church of England hierarchy, makes what Peter Ball did to me pale into insignificance”.
It has not been a good week for the Church of England. We were warned as much by our Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Peter Hancock, when he led the safeguarding presentation to General Synod in February. Indeed, he predicted a rocky path for the next two years. Although he did not say so, we probably deserve it after years of institutional neglect and lethargy. This week is perhaps the start of the purging of complacency.
The opening of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the deficiencies of the Established Church will take the headlines, but other stories have also arisen. The poor handling of Fr Matt Ineson’s complaints against five bishops was featured in the BBC Inside Out programme, and the substance of it appeared on the BBC website. It was covered by Christian Today, and, as so often, His Grace offered a strong and incisive contribution…
Read the whole article, please.