Comments: Church of England issues statement about Matthew Ineson

"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."

Not my job, mate. That's what procedures say.

That's a line which might avoid procedural culpability, but do we really believe that archbishops should be held to such a low standard of conduct?

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 6:34am GMT

So much for those who claim that the Church has learned its lessons, and every single person in the hierarchy is keen on transparency and justice! Nothing has changed.

Posted by Janet Fife at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 9:09am GMT

"For this reason, the Archbishop acknowledged Matthew Ineson’s letter and assured him of his prayers."

Complete indifference to child abuse is never a good look. Presumably the task of trying to prevent loving couples from marrying was occupying too much of his time to worry about such trivia, which is why he just acknowledged the letter, shrugged his shoulders and moved on.

"the Archbishop of York’s Office have already explained this was simply human error"

I mean, it's not as if they were writing about anything important, so why bother checking it for correctness? First draft is fine. Shrug. Whatever.

Posted by Interested Observer at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 9:13am GMT

This looks bad for Sentamu. He receives a written disclosure from Mr Ineson (an Anglican priest himself) who reports that he had been repeatedly raped by a clergyman (Devamannikan) when he was a (vulnerable, homeless) 16 year old, that he has disclosed this to Bishop Stephen Croft and others several times and no action has been taken. He has received no support, no investigation, no reparation. And Sentamu says, in effect, just keep trying with Croft can you. Not my problem.

Surely Sentamu had (a) a moral duty of care (b) oversight of croft especially on disciplinary matters (c) a responsibility to disclose to the police, or at least to refer the matter to some internal or external safeguarding body to escalate it?

In the context of being repeatedly ignored, how must Mr Ineson now feel to have this statement about him put out by the CofE? Suicidal is one obvious answer. He is being treated as a 'case' and a problem not a suffering, hurt, human being who has a serious and entirely credible allegation of abuse. What is stopping people from doing the right thing?

Posted by linda woodhead at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 12:01pm GMT

Does the NST not see that in publishing this statement in the way that they have (without letting Mathew know or showing him any pastoral concern), with the content that they have (trying to exonerate certain people and defend their inaction) at the timing they have (at the start of IICSA) that they give clear evidence to how broken the system is!

Posted by Jayne Ozanne at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 2:17pm GMT

The most damning thing for Archbishop Sentamu is that when his safeguarding Officer pointed out to him in a memo that Ineson had repeatedly reported the abuse to his bishop and now to his Archbishop, he wrote on the Memo; No Action.

The recent statement from the C of E just makes things worse. They still do not seem to be taking the matter seriously.

Posted by Paul Waddington at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 3:00pm GMT

are you saying that they didn't check with Matthew that it would be ok to publish this?
Oh my!

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 8:05pm GMT

Erika. Yes that is what my article reports in its Thursday noon update.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 10:19pm GMT

No they didn't inform me about this statement. The National Safeguarding Team haven't contacted me for 3 months and havent returned messages I left. Doesn't surprise me. I am not the only victim of abuse they have treated like this. Just for the record.
Croft and Sentamu MUST now resign. Sentamu and National Safeguarding Team say Croft should have acted on my disclosures (I've been saying that for years but they ignored me), say that Sentamu didn't have to respond to disclosure cos it wasn't his job - it was Crofts’s - (Please show me in the Church of England Safeguarding policy where it says that the 'I can ignore disclosures cos it's not my job' excuse is practice) and he signed, dated and acknowledged a memo which reported there were several victims of a sex abuser but did nothing about it and now years later claims it was a typing error. Mmmmm

Posted by Matthew Ineson at Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 11:45pm GMT

Matthew, as you are posting here directly I want to thank you for your courage in speaking out about this and hope that it is rewarded by seeing better outcomes for future survivors. Is there anything that lay members of the church might do to support you?

Posted by Jo at Friday, 9 March 2018 at 7:38am GMT

Thank you Jo. On a practical level I would encourage support for the call for resignations. This would show that people are no longer going to accept such appalling safeguarding standard failures. Every day someone is being abused. Every minute someone is hurting because of abuse. We have to do all we can to make sure this stops. If that means resignations, then so be it.
On a personal level, just hope I get my life back and some peace. It has been going on for over 5 1/2 years. All victims/survivors would want that.

Posted by Matthew Ineson at Friday, 9 March 2018 at 12:23pm GMT

Oh Matthew, I am so sorry and appalled that the abuse is still continuing, in the form of continued rejection of responsibility and in the form of not keeping you in the loop. This is appalling!
I will certainly support your call for resignations.
And I hope and pray that there will be a resolution and change, and that you will find peace.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 9 March 2018 at 3:12pm GMT

Personally I think that the Church of England should say something like

"We know that we have made mistakes and have failed victims/survivors, and that our procedures have sometimes given more priority to insiders than to complainants - that is evident from many stories we have heard. Our institutional attitude and culture is currently being considered in detail by IICSA, and we know that their recommendations and insights will help us to move forward and may require radical changes. Stories like Matthew's have been too common, and we need to learn how to do better. We hope that we will be able to improve some things because of what we learn through the IICSA hearings, even if some of their recommendations can only be delivered through significant structural and legal changes. In the meantime we will no longer comment in public on our conduct of particular cases. rather we will put our energies into engaging with, and supporting, those who have previously received suboptimal responses, and the additional victims/survivors/complainants who may be emboldened to come forward. We need to direct our energies to engage personally ["relationally" was used by a compelling witness] with those most deeply affected by our previous failings and make sure that our contribution to the IICSA process is as constructive and effective as possible."

And then actually put expertise and money into dealing with what is in front of us now.

One of the questions IICSA is already asking is "has the culture changed?" (or "changed enough?")

You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say may be taken down and used in evidence against you.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Friday, 9 March 2018 at 7:15pm GMT
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