Sunday, 4 March 2018

Update on IICSA hearings - 4 March

IICSA has published the timetable for the first week of hearings.

The CofE has published this page, with links to material about the IICSA hearings. Those links includes this Q and A for parishes. This in turn links to another document: Church of England Safeguarding Overview.

Earlier, the CofE published this Church of England statement on IICSA’s Child Migration Report. The IICSA press release about that report is here.

Mandate Now is a pressure group that seeks the introduction of law requiring staff who work in ‘Regulated Activities’ to report concerns about the welfare of children [and vulnerable adults] to the Local Authority. Mandatory reporting of suspected or known child abuse is a vital component of a functioning child protection system in institutional settings.

Mandate Now is supported by the largest coalition of survivor charities in England, Wales and Scotland which are members of ‘The Survivors Trust’.

Mandate Now has issued a critique of Church of England safeguarding: Church of England Safeguarding is Dysfunctional and Can Have No Reliance Placed Upon It | A Review by Mandate Now.

The full text of the review (224 pages) is available here.

The BBC regional television programme Inside Out for Yorkshire will broadcast an item tomorrow evening, Monday, which relates to the IICSA hearings:

…Inside Out hears from a man who says senior clergymen ignored his disclosures of sexual abuse by a parish priest.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 4 March 2018 at 3:30pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

I'm no expert on any of this, and haven't followed all the national debates. But my initial uninformed impression based on skimming through the new Practice Guidance document is:

1. There is no obligation to report all allegations to the police/social services. An awful lot seems to rest on the Core Group, who are the ones who undertake an initial investigation, and then decide whether to report an allegation to the police, or whether it is (in their view) unfounded/unsubstantiated. And it appears they could be quite unqualified to make this decision. But (I would argue) surely all allegations should be reported to the police/social services by the first person who hears them as a matter of course (eg. by a local vicar, parishioner or churchwarden) rather than simply referred up the chain? Mandate Now do seem to have a point here.

2. Whilst the respondent is provided a 'link' person to go with them to a meeting with the bishop when an allegation has been made against them, the guidance explicitly says this person cannot be a legal representative. But I'd have thought a respondent would be extremely unwise to attend a meeting under these conditions without legal representation.

In short, too much power in a potentially unqualified Core Team (and lack of involvement of safeguarding professionals, police, and lawyers) does not look like a good system to deliver justice for either complainant or respondent.

Posted by: Revd Dr Charles Clapham on Sunday, 4 March 2018 at 8:17pm GMT
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