Thinking Anglicans

CofE Safeguarding statistics: corrected data

The Church Times has a report this morning, which mentions (scroll to end) that:

Ongoing safeguarding allegations. It was revealed this week that The General Synod was misinformed last month about the number of safeguarding allegations being handled by the dioceses, it was revealed this week.

There are in fact about 2600 cases ongoing, not 3300, as previously reported by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, in a written question to a Synod member, Kat Alldread, last month (News, 16 February).

More than half of these 2600 cases involved children, and more than a quarter related to church officers — not 18 per cent as previously reported, the clerk to the Synod, Dr Jacqui Philips, confirmed in a letter to Mrs Alldread this week.

Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian today has a news report: Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry which includes a link to the full text of the letter from Dr Jacqui Phillips, Clerk to the Synod, which corrects the statistics:

…At the General Synod on 8 February 2017 the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding answered your question no 47 about the scale of safeguarding casework. I very much regret to say that part of this answer was incorrect, owing to a human error in compiling the data from which the answer was drawn. The Lead Bishop has asked me to convey his apologies to you for this error and to express his hope that neither you nor other members of Synod will have been misled by this incorrect information…

The corrected answer reads:

“Each diocese is asked to complete an annual self-assessment circulated and collated by the National Safeguarding Team for the previous year’s activity. Our current data relates to 2016 activity. Reporting methods used by the dioceses may vary so the numbers given are an approximate figure.

“In 2016 dioceses reported that they were dealing with around 2600 safeguarding concerns or allegations. Concerns are different from allegations of actual abuse and may cover less serious matters but may include raising issues of neglect or potential vulnerability of children or adults. 53% of concerns or allegations relate to children, and 47% to adults. Around 27% of concerns or allegations raised relate to a church
officer.

“The National Safeguarding Team has commissioned further work to analyse data for safeguarding concerns or allegations. The results of this analysis will be reported to the National Safeguarding Steering Group in due course.”

The main part of the Church Times news article by Hattie Williams, which is headlined IICSA hearing likely to prompt more disclosures of abuse, C of E safeguarding officials say previews the IICSA hearings that start next week, as does the Guardian article. The latter contains quotes from survivors Graham Sawyer and Gilo and from Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon.

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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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