IICSA held another “preliminary hearing” on 15 January. “Preliminary” in relation to the further two weeks of hearings planned for 1 to 12 July. The transcript from yesterday can be read here. Most of it is taken up with the Counsel to the Inquiry setting out her plans for July. At the outset she said:
The purpose of today’s hearing is to provide an update on the work that the inquiry has been carrying out since the hearings in July 2018, and to discuss the necessary preparations for the hearing to commence in July 2019.
I will deal with this in the following order:
Firstly, the broad themes and approaches to the national church hearing as the investigation team currently envisages them.
Secondly, how the inquiry has dealt with, and will be dealing with, the material received in the investigation and how such will be disclosed.
Thirdly, the requests made for statements pursuant to rule 9 of the Inquiry Rules, and when these will be ready for calculation.
Fourthly, hearing dates and any next steps. And lastly, any other business.
In what follows, I intend to explain what the inquiry has been doing and where we are now and set out what is going to happen over the next four months.
In addition to her statement, two legal representatives of groups of abuse survivors also made statements. Scroll down to page 8 of the PDF to read these. David Greenwood makes extensive reference to the case of Matt Ineson.
For a more detailed discussion of IICSA plans, see this summary at Law & Religion UK: IICSA 7th preliminary hearing on Anglican investigation.
The Church of England issued this press release: Statement following IICSA preliminary hearing.
Bishop Peter Hancock, lead safeguarding bishop for the Church of England said:
“We welcome the comments today from Fiona Scolding QC* on the wider church hearing scheduled for July which outlined the focus of the Inquiry.
We fully support the emphasis on the present and future of safeguarding in the Church of England which will help with our commitment to make the Church a safer place for all. Miss Scolding QC said the Inquiry will be looking at whether changes being implemented by the Church of England are relevant and purposeful. I believe this part of the Inquiry will be critical in helping us ensure that our safeguarding work is effective and rigorous and that survivors’ and victims’ views are heard.
We continue to be committed to working closely with the Inquiry in a constructive and transparent way.”
*Fiona Scolding is the counsel to IICSA for the investigation into the Anglican Church in England and Wales.
IICSA has also published a number of the written closing submissions made at the conclusion of the Peter Ball hearings in July last year. Here are links to some of them, which readers may find interesting despite their length.21 Comments
Hattie Williams writes for Church Times today: Safeguarding: PCCs must report serious incidents to Charity Commission.
PCCs, Diocesan Boards of Finance, and religious communities are now required by the House of Bishops to report any “serious incidents” — safeguarding and non-safeguarding — to the Charity Commission, under new guidance published this week.
As part of the move, the C of E will start compiling national safeguarding statistics for the first time…
The guidance from the Church of England is in these four documents.
There is a press release from the Church of England, which is copied below.
New guidance on reporting serious incidents, approved by the Charity Commission
The Church of England has published today new House of Bishops’ guidance on reporting safeguarding and other Serious Incidents to the Charity Commission. This is the first time the Church of England has produced Charity Commission approved guidance.
The Charity Commission updated its guidance on Serious Incident Reporting in October 2018, with a particular focus on the reporting of safeguarding Serious Incidents following recent high-profile incidents in the charity sector. All PCCs and DBFs and most Religious Communities are charities and their trustees (eg PCC members, DBF directors) are required to report any Serious Incidents – both safeguarding and non-safeguarding – to the Charity Commission. (more…)6 Comments
Updated again Thursday and Friday (scroll down)
Channel 4 News broadcast a news item this evening (Wednesday): there is a link to the 5 minute video in this online article:
A woman who claims she was abused by a vicar has told Channel 4 News she was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – before she was allowed to read an official review accusing the Church of England of mismanaging her complaints…
…A 2012 inquiry ordered by the then Archbishop Rowan Williams into multiple failures in safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester concluded: “A confidentiality clause should never be included in any agreement reached with a survivor. It is essential that there is complete transparency about any abuse that has occurred.” mismanaging her complaints…
The Telegraph has also covered the story: Church of England embroiled in NDA controversy after allegedly hushing up findings of harassment probe.
The Church of England has been accused of using non-disclosure agreements to hush up a sexual harassment case involving one of its vicars…
…However the institution is likely to face fresh scrutiny over its alleged use of an NDA, after the Archbishop of Canterbury, its most senior cleric, questioned their legitimacy this year.
He told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in March: “A non-disclosure agreement seems to me to be dangerous because it creates suspicion, ‘Why are you doing an NDA? Surely you’re trying to cover something up’.”
The Diocese of Birmingham has published a document titled Lessons Learnt Review Statement.
A complaint has been made regarding the way in which the Church of England Birmingham handled and investigated a complaint made by an adult of alleged sexual abuse between 1989 and 1991.
Whilst we investigated the complaint with best intentions so as to honour the complainant’s feelings, and to sensitively communicate with all those involved, we accept that we fell short of achieving those aims.
We want to learn from the mistakes we have made, so as to make improvements to our policies and procedures.
With that objective in mind, the Bishops Safeguarding Management Group authorised an independent Lessons Learnt Review…
The Daily Mail has now also covered this story: Church of England ‘forced woman abused by a vicar to sign a non-disclosure agreement over her abuse claims’ then paid her £40,000 but denied liability
The Times also carried a short item in its News in Brief column.
The Church Times published Birmingham diocese defends gagging order for survivor.
The Birmingham Mail reported: Church cover-up claims over ‘sex pest Harborne vicar who walked around naked’.
The Diocese of Birmingham on Thursday afternoon issued this on its website:
Response to Channel 4 News story
In response to the news report and interview with Jo Kind on Channel 4’s news programme (Weds 5 Dec 7pm) we believe that it is important to clarify a number of elements of the story as reported in that instance.
Most importantly, we need to make clear that the Church of England – Birmingham has never restricted, or sought to restrict Jo from telling her story. This is not the purpose of the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement). It was and will always be her story to tell. The decision with regards to the NDA was made to protect the many contributors to the report, some of whom wish to remain unidentifiable, along with the many others whom this situation affects. The suggestion of asking Jo to sign the NDA was also made by the independent reviewer once the report had been finalised. We encouraged Jo to seek legal advice, which she did, before signing the NDA, rather than ‘forcing it on her’ as reported.
It is important to understand that Jo was not asked to sign a ‘confidentiality clause’. Such a clause would have prevented her from disclosing information contained within the reports that she was already aware of, or where elements were already in the public domain. Jo was asked to sign an NDA with the intention to prevent from sharing information not belonging to her that she was not previously aware of (for example elements within the report that refer to information provided from or by other individuals, along with factors that could lead to the identity of the contributors and others who have been affected by this from being identified).
Simply put, Jo is and always has been free to tell her story, but we need to protect others who do not want their story to be told. We needed to put measures in place to safeguard the contributions and identities of these others. For us to publically share personal details regarding private individuals, some of whom have requested anonymity, would be irresponsible, unethical and contravening their understanding of what their contribution is being used for. It is not about protecting the Bishop, protecting the Church of England – Birmingham or the wider Church, it is about protecting the identities and rights of private individuals. We have not attempted to cover up our failings in dealing with this case and have publically acknowledged them here: www.cofebirmingham.com/hub/safeguarding/lessons-learnt/.
The Church of England has issued the statement below on the structure if its National Safeguarding Team.
Hattie Williams writes about this for Church Times: New post advertised to ‘strengthen’ C of E’s restructured safeguarding.
Statement on structure of National Safeguarding Team
Following the establishment of the National Safeguarding Team in 2015 – replacing a 0.5 national post – the Archbishops’ Council has recently reviewed its structure and after consultation will be advertising for a Director of Safeguarding.
Secretary General’s letter to the College of Bishops about staffing developments at the National Safeguarding Team While this appointment is in process an interim director will lead the National Safeguarding Team and Sir Roger Singleton* has been appointed from January 2. This proposed change is about having the right structures in place to ensure good safeguarding is embedded across the Church in the most effective way possible.
*Sir Roger Singleton is a former Chief Executive of Barnardo’s and chaired the Independent Safeguarding Authority from 2007-2012. He also led the Independent Scrutiny Team which assessed the adequacy of the Church of England’s 2008-2009 Past Cases Review.6 Comments
The Bell Society, which seeks to restore the reputation of Bishop George Bell, held a second Rebuilding Bridges conference on 5 October. See here for more information about the first conference, held in February. Note that this organisation is distinct from the George Bell Group.
One of the speakers on 5 October was Lord Carey. The full text of his remarks has been published by Archbishop Cranmer. He also discusses the separate case of Bishop Peter Ball.55 Comments
The Church of England has announced the appointment of the first independent chair for its National Safeguarding Panel with this press release:
Meg Munn, former MP and Government Minister, with a professional background in child and adult safeguarding issues, has been appointed as the first independent chair of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Panel (NSP). Meg attended her first Panel today where she was officially installed as Chair, taking over from Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop.
Meg Munn is a qualified social worker with 20 years’ experience and led children’s social services in York before being elected as a Member of Parliament in 2001. She spent 14 years in Parliament and was a government minister; in 2010 she established and chaired the All-Party Child Protection Parliamentary Group having previously chaired the All-Party Voice Parliamentary Group which worked for the prevention of abuse of vulnerable adults. Stepping down from parliament in 2015, Meg became an independent governance consultant and non-executive director. She has been a member of the Methodist Church since her teenage years and lives in Yorkshire…
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian C of E appoints first independent chair of safeguarding
“Meg Munn insists apologies for past wrongs will mean nothing without deep cultural change”
Martin Sewell has written another article at Archbishop Cranmer entitled It is pointless pouring the new wine of safeguarding into the old wineskins of arcane ecclesiology.
The Church of England media report on Monday told us that “a senior church figure” had been invited by the police to discuss an alleged failure to report a serious sexual offence. Following the case of Sir Cliff Richard, official police hesitance and revised guidelines apparently prevented further identification of who was involved and that ought to be respected, even though this particular genie was well out of the bottle. The controversy is a longstanding one, pre-dating the Cliff Richard case, and many know what this is all about, but let us do what Lord Carlile suggested when he reviewed the mistakes made in the case of Bishop George Bell.
Interestingly, the Church of England originally immediately repudiated that Carlile recommendation, yet in Monday’s media announcement they coyly adopted the police reticence and applied the principle in this case, though whether this is an official embracing of the wisdom of Carlile’s proposition or a ‘one off’ exception is unclear. This matters.
We need a debate on the principles of these cases in the abstract, because tainted by excessive sympathy or disapprobation of any individual or set of circumstances may well lead us astray.
While following this aspect of the debate amongst colleagues with a special interest in Safeguarding policy, a simple question arose: ‘Do the same rules apply to the most junior of deacons as to an archbishop?’ Essentially: ‘Is there equality under the law within the ecclesiastical community?’
It seems to me that the answer to that question may not be quite as simple as one may think, and we need to grapple with the complexity of the debate without being bogged down by unique contexts and individual circumstances…
The whole article is well worth reading.
Stephen Parsons has published an article, containing a huge amount of detail on the case which underlies the arguments made above, titled The Matt Ineson story continued. There is even more information in the comments to that article.
The Telegraph news report mentioned is here (registration required): Bishop of Oxford to face police questioning over allegations of sex abuse cover-up. The Oxford Mail report of the diocesan response is here: Abuse claims were not ignored insists Oxford Diocese.6 Comments
Tuesday 21st August 2018 1430
VICTIMS LAUNCH CLAIM AGAINST JOHN SMYTH CAMP LEADERS
A group of men who say they were groomed and beaten by the English barrister John Smyth have launched a legal claim against the Titus Trust, which runs the notorious Iwerne holidays network.
One victim, who did not wish to be identified, said “The abuse we suffered as a consequence of attending Iwerne camps has had a devastating effect on all of our lives. We have been compelled to take this course of action because of the unwillingness of the Titus Trust to accept any responsibility for what happened.”
Since John Smyth’s abuse came to public attention in February 2017, Titus Trust has consistently refused to speak to the men, to help identify other victims or to provide for the counselling they all need. Victims’ advocate Andrew Graystone said “I have personally written to every individual Titus Trustee more than once, pleading for them to do their duty as trustees and as Christians, and help the victims. Not one has responded. The refusal of the trustees to offer any help to Smyth’s victims has massively compounded their suffering.”
The victims have instructed Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon Solicitors to pursue their claim against Titus Trust. Scorer has frequently represented victims of abuse In a church context. He said “No reasonable person could believe that the Titus Trust is anything other than the legal successor to the Iwerne Trust. If the current trustees of the Titus Trust persist in claiming that they bear no responsibility, we will be forced to launch additional claims against the individual surviving trustees of Iwerne, namely David Fletcher and Giles Rawlinson.”
Titus Trust is the legal successor to the Iwerne Trust, which continues to run camps under the Iwerne brand. Iwerne provides a programme of intensive Christian discipleship based around activity holidays. The programme has run continuously since 1930. The most recent Iwerne holidays were held this month.
John Smyth QC was the chair of the Iwerne Trust from 1975 to 1982. He resigned when the trust became aware that he was using the network to recruit young men for abuse. Smyth died at his home in South Africa on 11th August, just eight days after Hampshire Police had summoned him for formal questioning in connection with the offences.
For further information contact Andrew Graystone
07772 71009011 Comments
David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has written a three-part post concerning the public hearing of the Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the Peter Ball case study which took place 23 – 27 July 2018. I’ve listed the topics covered in each below. It’s all well worth reading.
Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (I) Legislative and other changes, to 2018 and beyond
Appointment of diocesan bishop
Permission to Officiate (PTO)
Timeline of events
Implications of a police caution
Sanctions applicable to bishops
Misconduct in public office
Mandatory reporting of safeguarding
Seal of the confessional
Peter Ball – legislation, then and now (III) What next after the IICSA Peter Ball Inquiry?
IICSA Final Report
Closing Statements of Peter Ball Inquiry
We are amongst the scores of victims viciously beaten by the late John Smyth QC whilst he was Chair of The Iwerne Trust.
We are appalled by the statement issued on Monday 13th August by the Titus Trust, which now runs the Iwerne network.
The statement says that the Titus Trust has “done all that [it] can to ensure the matter is properly investigated by the relevant authorities.” This is untrue.
The statement further says that the board of the Titus Trust was only informed of the allegations against John Smyth in 2014. This is also untrue.
The Revd The Hon David Fletcher was employed as the senior officer of the Iwerne Trust from 1967 until 1986, when he became a trustee. He served in that capacity continuously until August 2016, only resigning his post when the Iwerne Trust was closed in a bid to distance it from its successor. Revd Fletcher was also a trustee of the Titus Trust from its foundation in 1997 until the same date.
It is a matter of record that Revd Fletcher and numerous leaders of his movement have been fully aware of Smyth’s abuse for 36 years. Revd Fletcher commissioned a comprehensive report of Smyth’s abuses in the UK in March 1982. From 1993 he was in possession of a further report of Smyth’s abuse in Zimbabwe. These reports, which were stored in the loft of the Chair of the Titus Trust Giles Rawlinson, were not made available to any secular authorities until 2017, when they were requisitioned by Hampshire Police under warrant.
An earlier statement from the Titus Trust website says that Smyth’s abuse took place between 1978 and 1981. They know this to be untrue. Smyth’s abuse in the UK started in 1975 and continued until 1982 and probably until 1984. Rev Fletcher and other Iwerne Trustees then facilitated Smyth’s move to Africa, where he abused at least 60 children between 1985 and 2017.
The Titus Trust, under the leadership of Fletcher and Rawlinson, took over the Iwerne network in its entirety in 1997. Titus has continued to run holidays under the Iwerne brand until as recently as last week. To suggest that the two are completely separate is simply deceitful.
Since Smyth’s horrific abuses were publicly exposed in February 2017, the Titus Trust has flatly refused to engage with his victims, or even to enquire after our well-being, let alone to offer any form of support or redress. Their protestation of sympathy is cynical and disingenuous.
Had the Titus Trust acted on the information that was available to it since its foundation, Smyth’s abuse could have been stopped long ago. Our hearts go out to the 60 or more children of Zimbabwe and South Africa who suffered at the hands of John Smyth as we did, but needlessly.
We have no interest in the “thoughts and prayers” of the Titus Trust. We do not believe they are fit to work with children.
As we reported here, it emerged earlier this month that the Bishop of Oxford had given Lord Carey permission to officiate (PTO) back in February. The Bishop of Oxford issued the following statement today.
Lord Carey PTO : statement from the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford
“Along with many others, I am sorry and ashamed to hear again this week of the abuse perpetrated by Peter Ball, and the way in which the Church of England failed to respond to the survivors over such a long period of time and at the most senior level. The whole Church needs to respond to what has been revealed with repentance, improved practice and a continued change of culture.
“We recognise that there will be renewed questions concerning Lord Carey’s Permission to Officiate following the IICSA hearings this week and I am sorry that my response to Lord Carey’s request for PTO in February this year caused additional distress to some survivors of abuse.
“When Lord Carey stepped down from his role as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford following the publication of the Gibb report in 2017 it also meant that he was no longer able to preside over services at his local church. There were no legal grounds for me to deny Lord Carey’s request for PTO in February this year as he was not subject to a disciplinary process, and there has never been any suggestion that he is himself a risk to children, young people or vulnerable adults.
“Lord Carey’s PTO remains in place at this time, providing him with a safe space to exercise his ministry. However, as part of the Church of England’s ongoing response to IICSA, there will now be a process of review and support offered to Lord Carey by the Diocese of Oxford together with the National Safeguarding Team.”139 Comments
The transcript for the final day, Friday, is available here.
The transcript of Thursday’s hearing is now available. Gregor McGill, Andrew Nunn, Ros Hunt and Bishop Frank Sergeant were interviewed.
The transcript for Wednesday’s hearing is now published. Witnesses questioned were Andrew Purkis, Wayne Murdock, and Carwyn Hughes. Statements from Lady Alice Renton and Ian Beer were also read out.
There is a list of 35 documents, and the links to all of them are here. More details later.
The transcript of Tuesday’s hearing is now available here. The entire day was taken up with questioning Lord Carey.
The National Secular Society reported it too: “Establishment” helped abusive bishop evade justice, inquiry hears.0 Comments
The transcript of the first day is now available here.
Three documents have been published:
The lawyer representing the Archbishops’ Council read this opening statement.
IICSA video recordings:
The Church of England’s House of Bishops Delegation Committee has approved a new Policy on Granting Permission to Officiate.
The Church Times reports: Clerics under investigation for abuse may be barred from ministering under new safeguarding rules.
PERMISSION to officiate (PTO) will be refused or withdrawn from clerics who are under police investigation over allegations of past child or vulnerable adult abuse, new guidance from the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England states.
It also states that PTO may be withdrawn or refused by the bishop, even if the investigation of the cleric has concluded, and no conviction made.
“Where a cleric has been the subject of a criminal investigation for offences relating to children and vulnerable adults that did not result in a conviction, again the bishop must consult the diocesan safeguarding advisor and the diocesan registrar before deciding whether to grant PTO.”
Appropriate reasons for withdrawing PTO listed in the document include “following an allegation of abuse in a cleric’s past ministry pending the police investigation”.
In addition, PTO must be refused when a cleric has accepted a police caution; an allegation of abuse has been proved in court; or the cleric has been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults…
There is of course a lot more to the document, which is 47 pages long (main part 25 pages, followed by 8 annexes).16 Comments
IICSA has published this timetable for next week’s public hearings, 23 to 27 July (from 10 am daily).
Former archbishop, Lord Carey, is due to appear on Tuesday.
As during the previous hearings, TA will try to provide daily links to the transcripts and to some of the key documents.
The Guardian has this news story: Prince Charles to give evidence on bishop to child abuse inquiry.
The BBC has this: Prince Charles to give evidence at Peter Ball abuse inquiry.12 Comments
A group of abuse survivors and their supporters are seeking £3000 to publish a dynamic collaborative book speaking to the Church of England. Contributors include survivors, academics, theologians, commentators, lawyers, leading church figures.
Funding breakdown: £1000 publishing costs, £1300 publicity, £700 Kindle & fees = £3000 Total
Any profits will go to MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors). No contributor is being paid. We are offering the work in the hope of seeing meaningful and critical change in the Church of England’s pastoral, structural, and psychological response to victims and survivors of abuse.
The book will include a wide variety of themes, with some stories and interviews. It will also feature some real letters sent to Lambeth Palace, House of Bishops, and Synod during the past few years…29 Comments
Updated Saturday afternoon
Harriet Sherwood reports in the Guardian that the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft has permitted former archbishop George Carey to resume public ministry. Her report is headlined George Carey allowed church role despite part in abuse cover-up.
George Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury who was heavily criticised in an independent report for his part in the cover-up of sexual abuse carried out by a bishop, has been allowed to resume an official role in the Church of England.
Lord Carey stepped down last year as an honorary assistant bishop at the unprecedented request of Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, after a damning report which found the church had colluded over the abuse.
But it emerged this week that Carey has been granted “permission to officiate” (PTO) by Steven Croft, the bishop of Oxford, allowing him to preach and preside at churches in the diocese. Croft is reportedly under police investigation for allegedly failing to respond properly to a separate report of clerical sexual abuse.
The decision to grant the PTO was made in February despite expectations of further revelations this month about Carey’s role in the case of Peter Ball, a former bishop of Gloucester, at the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA)…
Statement from the Diocese of Oxford on the granting of “permission to officiate” (PTO) of the Most Rev. George Carey by the Rt. Rev. Steven Croft:
In the wake of Dame Moira Gibb’s review, Lord Carey stood down from the role of Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford in June 2017, and withdrew from public ministry for a season. Lord Carey accepted the criticisms made of him at the time and has apologised to the victims of Peter Ball.
In February 2018 Lord Carey contacted the Diocese of Oxford to request PTO (permission to officiate). This was granted by the Bishop of Oxford later the same month.
The granting of PTO enabled Lord Carey to preach and preside in the church where he worships, a church where his ministry is much valued. The granting of a PTO does not indicate a planned return to the role of Assistant Bishop.
Concerning the police investigation mentioned above, the Guardian report continues:
…Croft is one of several senior church figures, including John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, who are reportedly being investigated by South Yorkshire police over alleged failures to act on disclosures of an alleged rape of a teenage boy by a clergyman in the 1980s. The force declined to confirm or deny an investigation was under way.
Matthew Ineson claims he was raped by the Rev Trevor Devamanikkam, and in 2012 and 2013 reported the crime to senior figures in the church, including Croft. He alleges they failed to follow proper procedures and did not advise him to tell police.
Devamanikkam was later charged with indecent assault and buggery without consent, but killed himself in 2017 before coming to trial.
A spokesperson for the diocese of Oxford said: “Written records and notes taken at the time give a different picture to the one Mr Ineson is presenting about how his case has been handled.”
An independent review had been commissioned by the C of E’s national safeguarding team, the spokesperson said…
There is now also a report in the Telegraph: Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey given permission to preach by the Church of England.
The BBC has reported (5.5 minutes in…) that Lambeth Palace was consulted by the diocese before this action was taken.
Premier Radio has this: Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey allowed to preach his church again.43 Comments