New Lead Safeguarding Bishop and Deputy Announced
The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs has been announced as the Church of England’s new lead safeguarding bishop, taking over from Bishop Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Bath and Wells who leaves the role at the end of February.
Bishop Jonathan, a member of the House of Bishops, will be supported by the Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, as deputy lead safeguarding bishop.
Bishop Jonathan and Bishop Debbie will work closely with the national director of safeguarding Melissa Caslake, who took up the role six months ago, along with the all members of the National Safeguarding Team as they continue to develop the Church’s safeguarding practice. Bishop Jonathan will chair the National Safeguarding Steering Group, the delegated House of Bishops body responsible for making national safeguarding decisions.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “We are truly grateful to Bishop Peter who as lead safeguarding bishop, represented the Church at its three IICSA hearings over the past two years as well as leading on the response both to the recommendations and the important calls for change from survivors. His commitment to safeguarding and the mission of the Church is exemplary and the House of Bishops has learnt a lot from him.
We welcome Bishop Jonathan and Bishop Debbie and commend their willingness to take up this role which is a vital part of the work of the Church. I am aware of the immense time commitment involved and pray for them as this new chapter begins.”
Bishop Jonathan said:
“Having been a member of the NSSG for the last two years, I am deeply grateful to Bishop Peter Hancock for all that he has done, as well as very aware of the responsibility involved in taking on this role. I am profoundly conscious of the work that lies ahead, both in response to the findings of IICSA and beyond. In particular, I am committed to working closely with the survivor community, to whom we owe a huge debt of thanks for their courage, integrity and willingness to hold us to account. Safeguarding is about enabling the Church of England to go on becoming a safer, healthier place for all, and it is a sacred responsibility in which every single one of us must share.”
Bishop Debbie said:
“It is a privilege for me to take on this role, and to play my part in helping the Church respond well to survivors. Having begun ministry as a Family and Children’s Worker, I am committed to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults and supporting families in need. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and I am pleased to be working with the National Team in developing our practice further.”11 Comments
Updated Thursday evening
A group of survivors of sexual abuse committed by Church of England clergy have written an open letter to General Synod members. The full text of that letter is copied below the fold (and is also on the Surviving Church blog).
Amendments, supported by the survivors, to the proposed motion due to be debated next week regarding the recommendations from IICSA to the Church of England have been proposed by David Lamming and Peter Adams.
Peter Adams has written an article about the need for stronger action by General Synod: Closing the door on a shameful past: the need for a fully rounded response by CofE General Synod to IICSA.
These amendments have however been ruled out of order. See today’s Church Times news report Safeguarding amendments to give Synod motion ‘more teeth’ are rejected.
The full text of the proposed motion if the proposed amendments had been accepted, is as follows.
GENERAL SYNOD FEBRUARY 2020 GROUP OF SESSIONS WEDNESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2020
AGENDA ITEM 9 Safeguarding: Response to recommendations in IICSA May 2019 Investigation Report (GS 2158)
COMPOSITE DRAFT OF THE MOTION AS IT WOULD BE IF AMENDED BY THE AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY DAVID LAMMING (GS 399) AND PETER ADAMS (GS 392)
That this Synod:
(a) lament the Church of England’s abject failures in dealing with reports of abuse, as revealed during the hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and documented in its interim report, Anglican Church Case Studies: Diocese of Chichester and The response to allegations against Peter Ball (May 2019), and accordingly welcome the terms of the Diocese of Blackburn ‘Ad Clerum’ letter dated 17th June 2019, reflecting on the IICSA report and commend its victim-centred approach to all in authority within the Church as a suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission;
(b) affirm (in the words of the National Director of Safeguarding at para 4.1 of paper GS 2158) that the Church of England “remains committed to ensuring that words of apology are followed by concrete actions to improve how all worshipping communities across the whole Church in its many forms – across its parishes, dioceses, cathedrals, religious communities, national church institutions and other church bodies – respond to concerns and allegations of abuse and to all victims and survivors of abuse and others affected by this, whilst at the same time working to prevent such abuse from occurring in the first place.”
(c) endorse the Archbishops’ Council’s response, set out in paper GS 2158, to the five recommendations made by IICSA at pages 206 to 207 of its said report;
(d) request the Archbishops’ Council, National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG), National Safeguarding Team, and House of Bishops to respond immediately to the recommendations of the final IICSA report on the Anglican Church when it is published, and bring their response to General Synod for debate no later than July 2021; and
(e) request the Archbishops’ Council, NSSG and House of Bishops, working in conjunction with the Church Commissioners, to bring forward proposals for an appropriate and properly resourced compensation and redress scheme, so that words of apology are matched by actions that truly reflect the justice and righteousness of God’s kingdom.
The BBC has transmitted a two-part television documentary programme:
Exposed: The Church’s Darkest Secret.
The Church of England has issued two press releases. The first one was issued last week, the second one yesterday after both episodes had been shown:
Response to BBC 2 documentary on Peter Ball from the Bishop of Bath & Wells, Peter Hancock
The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, has also issued a response (includes video).
Media coverage includes:
Daily Mail Sister of a man who took his own life after being abused by bishop Peter Ball claims the paedophile’s ‘friends in high places’ like Prince Charles are ‘to blame’ for her brother’s death in a new documentary
Church Times Bishops shamed by BBC documentary33 Comments
Update on Safe Spaces following media report
A spokesperson for the National Safeguarding Team said: “Safe Spaces is planned as a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse across the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
“The delay in progressing the support service, first officially discussed in 2014, is a matter of regret which the Church of England acknowledges and apologises for. But since the appointment of a project manager and the creation of the Safe Spaces Management Board last year eight survivor representatives from across both Churches are involved in ensuring we find the right organisation to deliver the project.
“Their knowledge, skill and personal experience in shaping the model for Safe Spaces alongside their commitment and support for the procurement process is integral to finding the right organisation to deliver the project.
“All grant money from both churches and ATL has been ring fenced for the project and no money from the £592,000 grant has been spent to date, and no new company has been set up. Pre set-up costs, procurement, project management and development are separate to this and the cost is being shared across both Churches.
“Following an initial procurement process, the Board has agreed that it would not be recommending the appointment of a preferred supplier to deliver the project; this decision was taken in partnership with the survivor representatives.
“Over the coming weeks the Board in partnership with survivors will agree the next steps and the best way forward. Survivor voices remain central to any future success of this new service and their welfare and support is an absolute priority for the Church in its continuing safeguarding work.
“Both churches are committed to supporting survivors of church-related abuse and providing an independent national service for survivors of any form of church-related abuse.”35 Comments
Lincoln diocese issued this brief statement yesterday:
The Venerable Mark Steadman has been appointed as acting Dean of Lincoln
The Rt Revd Dr David Court, acting Bishop of Lincoln, has appointed the Venerable Mark Steadman, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey, as acting Dean of Lincoln from Friday 22nd November 2019. This decision is to enable the continuing governance and functioning of the cathedral. Mr Steadman continues in role as Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey alongside his new duties.
The Lincolnite has two news reports that shed further light on what has recently happened:
The most surprising item in the first report is this:
Dean Christine Wilson added that on Monday, the President of Tribunals made a determination that a complainant and the bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset and therefore the complaint, which led to Christine’s absence, was void and invalid.
The President of Tribunals stated that this was “unfortunate” and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.
It now appears that this is likely to happen, which leaves the cathedral without their dean for a further period of time.
She added that she had over the last seven months respected the processes of the church throughout the inquiry and cooperated fully.
And this is further amplified in the second report:
…A Church of England spokesperson said: “The Church is taking this issue very seriously and is aware how difficult it is for all parties involved.
“As the Dean said in her statement, the President of Tribunals made a determination that the complainant and bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset, that this was ‘unfortunate’ and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.
“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team will be issuing another complaint, however, it should be noted that the President of Tribunals made no decision on the actual substance of the complaint.
“Nothing further can be said as this process continues but we ask prayers for everyone involved…”
Update The Guardian has the background to this story: Church of England reviews its handling of sexual abuse case.
“Matthew Ineson said his claims that a vicar had raped him when he was 16 were ignored”
Update 2 Matthew Ineson has written about the review in a comment below.
Update 3 (Monday) Church Times has now covered this story Devamanikkam review challenged by survivor.
Review of Trevor Devamanikkam case
Safeguarding consultant Jane Humphreys has been appointed as the independent reviewer into the Church of England’s handling of the allegations relating to the late Revd Trevor Devamanikkam.
Jane brings more than 30 years of experience from the statutory sector having previously been a director of children’s and adult services (see biography below).
The aim of the review is to identify both good practice and failings in the handling of these allegations, in order that the Church of England can take steps to enhance and improve its response to allegations of abuse and thereby ensure a safer environment for all.
The reviewer will look at written and verbal evidence from the survivor who brought the original allegation of abuse.
The reviewer will also make contact with the relevant archbishop and bishops as well as those safeguarding professionals in the Church who dealt with the allegations and external agencies.
The review will be published in full except for jigsaw identification details.
Melissa Caslake, the Church of England’s national director of safeguarding, said: “We are very pleased that Jane has agreed to take on this vital piece of work to enable the Church to learn lessons. We have listened to concerns about the importance of independence in this work and we believe Jane’s wealth of professional experience fits this criterion. We hope the review will be completed and published during 2020.”
Jane Humphreys said: “As an independent reviewer I am committed to working in a transparent way and will ensure that anyone who wishes to provide evidence to the Review will be heard. I will also ensure that all relevant documents relating to the Church’s handling of this case are looked at so lessons can be learnt to enable the Church to be a safer place for all.
Jane is a highly experienced Senior Social Care Consultant, and previous Director of Children’s and Adult’s Services with a career spanning more than 30 years. Having trained as a social worker she worked in a number of local authorities becoming a director of children’s and adult services in 2008. She currently specialises in change management and has a proven track record of directing service reviews and ensuring preparation for Ofsted and CQC inspections. Jane is also undertaking some work for the Local Government Association as a children’s improvement adviser. She is committed to supporting families and service users, and driving improvements in service delivery in a range of organisations. She also has broad based expertise in chairing Adult and Children Safeguarding Boards.7 Comments
Two items relating to Church of England safeguarding in today’s Church Times.
First a letter from Martin Sewell, which can be accessed here (scroll down to fourth item). Do read the whole letter, what follows is only an extract:
Safeguarding case is not as complex as claimed
Sir Roger Singleton (Letters, 9 August) describes the case of the Revd Matt Ineson as “very complex”. I disagree; it is undoubtedly a serious matter, not least to the parties concerned, but anyone with experience of child-protection trials will know that this dispute presents few difficulties out of the ordinary compared with other cases that principally turn on disputed testimony…
…Mr Ineson undoubtedly disclosed his abuse to the police, his lawyers, and various bishops. All that needs to be resolved is to whom, when, in what terms, what was done with the information, and whether the bishops’ actions met the requisite standards of their office. They are entitled to a presumption of innocence, and proof must be on the balance of probabilities. It really is not that hard.
The prompt resolution of disputes depends on well-developed good practice. Essential requirements are: an agreed comprehensive chronology; an agreed summary of facts not in dispute; an agreed summary of facts in dispute; an agreed summary of issues to be determined; case summaries from either side, identifying any relevant law and guidelines; and a decent index. The skill is all in the preparation of these documents. Once they are in place, most of the judgment writes itself.
I have long argued that the Church needs to employ one or two specialist lawyers to sort these things out. We seem to pay a lot of money to expensive lawyers who advise that these matters are complex. We should invest a little in those who do the majority of this kind of work and for whom it is utterly routine.
Securing a clean and competent review is relatively easy, but the survivors I talk to doubt the Church’s commitment to running a simple and fair fact-finding process. Talk of a learned-lessons review sounds reasonable, but actually represents a deliberately narrow defining of the process, one that excludes the more embarrassing aspects of the case.
If past reviews are anything to go by, any such process will not even result in a free debate of any report at the General Synod and will be quietly consigned into the same oubliette into which past reviews have disappeared without trace or noticeable change.
Speaking to the BBC Sunday programme, Kate Blackwell QC, an expert in such inquiries, described the review as “compromised before it’s even started”. Sir Roger and his team need to go back to the drawing board urgently. The Church still doesn’t get it.
General Synod member for Rochester diocese
Second, there is a book review by Robin Gill: Three books on abuse and safeguarding in the Church.
The three books are:
To Heal and Not to Hurt: A fresh approach to safeguarding in Church
Rosie Harper and Alan Wilson
Church Times Bookshop £11.70
Letters to a Broken Church
Janet Fife and Gilo, editors
Church Times Bookshop £11.69
Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating healthy Christian cultures
Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys
Church Times Bookshop £9.90
Updated Wednesday afternoon
Details of the independent review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth QC have been published today.
See here: Independent review into Smyth case.
Keith Makin, a former director of social services with more than 30 years experience in the social care field, will lead the independent lessons learnt review which will consider the response of the Church of England and its officers to the allegations against John Smyth. Keith has led on a number of serious case reviews and has chaired several local safeguarding partnerships…
There is more detail about Keith Makin, and at the bottom of the release there are links to earlier statements from the church about this case.
The Terms of Reference are over here. There are 9 pages of detail, but it starts this way:
These instructions set out the basis on which the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England commissions Keith Makin (“the Reviewer”) to undertake a review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations relating to the conduct of the late John Smyth QC.
The Review will consider the response of the Church of England and its officers to those allegations, and the response of other organisations, namely Winchester College, the Titus Trust, and the Scripture Union, to the extent that those organisations are willing to co-operate. The approach of those organisation to the Review at the time of its commencement is as follows:
- Winchester College. Winchester College has stated that it anticipates that it will cooperate with the Review, providing all relevant information on a voluntary basis, i.e. with the status of an Interested Party rather than a Subject Organisation. In such a capacity, subject to the matter of any live litigation, Winchester College will share its own findings and answer any questions so far as it reasonably can.
- The Titus Trust. The Titus Trust has stated that it is restricted in its participation in the review by ongoing legal action and it is not able to engage in the Review until this has been resolved.
- The Scripture Union. The Scripture Union has confirmed that it will not participate in the Review.
These instructions are given by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) of the Churchof England, acting on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council. This document should be read alongside, and forms part of, the agreement between the Reviewer and theArchbishops’ Council in relation to this review (“the Agreement”), in particular, provisions relating to confidentiality and data protection…
There has been extensive media coverage of this announcement:
Continuing the Matt Ineson story…
The Church of England’s Interim Director of Safeguarding, Sir Roger Singleton has written a letter to the Church Times which is published today.
Review of the Devamanikkam case
Sir, — Further to your report “Survivor condemns review’ (News, 2 August), I would like to point out the seriousness with which the Church has taken the issues raised in this very complex case concerning allegations against Trevor Devamanikkam, particularly the harrowing account of abuse given by the Revd Matthew Ineson.
The Church is committed to an independent lessons-learnt review of its handling of this case, and the terms of reference and reviewer are soon to be announced. An initial draft of the terms of reference was sent to Mr Ineson in March, and twice since then.
Last week, I wrote to him again seeking his comments, and hope to meet and discuss this further with him. He also met the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2017, a meeting that was followed up with a personal signed letter of apology.
Lessons-learnt reviews are not statutory inquiries, and, as with any organisation carrying out such a review, the Church is committed to working with all parties linked with the case. I am sorry that Mr Ineson feels that the review will be a sham. I can assure him that it will be carried out in a professional and objective manner, so that lessons can be learnt.
Updated again Tuesday morning
Continuing the story from here.
The BBC Radio 4 weekly religious news programme, Sunday, today carried an interview with Matt Ineson. This was followed by an interview with Kate Blackwell QC. You can hear both of these here (go forward 33 minutes). The latter contains very serious criticisms of the Church of England’s handling of safeguarding reviews in general and of this case in particular.
The Church of England declined to put up anyone to respond to either interview.
Further update: it was included on Tuesday in the following terms:
BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme
Item on prospective safeguarding review (from around 33 minutes 07 seconds)
See more detail in the comments below.
A full transcript of both interviews has now been published here.20 Comments
Protocols and practice guidance for the Church of England’s Past Cases Review 2, (PCR2) have been published today. Individuals who wish to make representations to the PCR2 process or who need to come forward with information or make any disclosures regarding church related abuse are encouraged to make direct contact with their diocesan safeguarding adviser. However, recognising that this may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the church, a dedicated telephone helpline – 0800 80 20 20 – operated independently from the church, by the NSPCC, has been set up.
Anyone can use the helpline to provide information or to raise concerns regarding abuse within the Church of England context; whether they are reporting issues relating to children, adults or seeking to whistle blow about poor safeguarding practice. Survivors were not invited to contribute to the 2007-2009 PCR and the Church has wanted to ensure a different, trauma informed approach is taken by PCR2. Listening to survivor voices has helped to shape how this review will be conducted.
The issuing of this guidance is just part of the ongoing scrutiny work around past cases across the Church, and follows a report in 2018 into the original PCR (2007-2009) which revealed shortcomings both in the process and final result.
Seven dioceses were asked to repeat a full Past Cases Review with work already underway based on draft guidance. The final guidance directs all dioceses on steps that must be taken to independently review all outstanding files. PCR2 must be completed by the end of 2020.
The telephone helpline number and details of how to make contact directly with the diocesan safeguarding team will be promoted locally by each diocese
Bishop Mark Sowerby, chair of the PCR2 Management Board said: “It is the aspiration of the Archbishops’ Council that by the end of the PCR2 process, independent review work will have been carried out in every diocese and church institution within both the letter and the spirit of the protocol and practice guidance.
PCR2 is a central part of the church’s proactive approach to identifying where abuse allegations have not been managed appropriately or safely
We are committed to responding well to all survivors of abuse and I pray that the PCR2 is another step to making the Church a safer place for all.”
There are links to several documents:
Updated twice Friday
Today Surviving Church has today published Matt Ineson’s statement.
The Church of England has announced a “Lessons Learned” review into my abuse. I will not be cooperating with the review…
Do read the whole of his statement.
Stephen Parsons writes:
We would hope that his refusal to co-operate with the review into his case will result in some change in the ways these reviews are done. We can hope so and we and many others will be watching. The way out of this failure to protect and care for survivors will surely involve radical changes in leadership, both in the safeguarding industry and the episcopal oversight that is supposed to be in force. Whether this will will happen is unclear but the status quo is now so flawed that we all should be clamouring for change so that transparency and justice can be found.
Press coverage of that day’s hearing was included here.
Media reports of this statement:
…In response, a spokesperson for the Church’s National Safeguarding Team said: “The Church is committed to an independent lessons learnt review into its handling of the Trevor Devamanikkam case and the Terms of Reference and reviewer are soon to be announced. All aspects of the case will be looked at including the detailed evidence given at IICSA by Matthew Ineson. The report and the Church’s response will be published in full once it is completed.”
The Church added that it respects Mr Ineson’s decision but that the review is vital and have met with him to discuss the terms of reference further.
It added that only some inquiries are carried out independently.
…A spokesperson for the NST said on Wednesday: “The Church is committed to an independent lessons-learnt review into its handling of the Trevor Devamanikkam case, and the terms of reference and reviewer are soon to be announced. All aspects of the case will be looked at, including the detailed evidence given at IICSA by Matthew Ineson. The report and the Church’s response will be published in full once it is completed.”
Under the House of Bishops’ policy, lessons-learnt reviews are carried out in all serious safeguarding situations, but not all are carried out independently.
Archbishop Cranmer Martin Sewell “Shabby and shambolic” – the CofE still conspires against truth and justice in historic sexual abuse
…In this case, it is by no means clear who is driving the decision to limit the terms of the review. Is it the Archbishops, the House of Bishops, the Archbishops’ Council, the National Safeguarding Team, the National Safeguarding Supervisory Group, the acting National Safeguarding Director, the incoming National Safeguarding Director, the Lead Safeguarding Bishop, or the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council and Secretary General of the General Synod? Is the decision administrative or executive, individual or collective? One only has to list the potential decision-makers to illustrate the lawyer’s point. Grappling with this organisation and its confusing structures is extraordinarily difficult for an aggrieved individual. It should not be like this.
It is therefore legitimate to pose three simple and direct questions:
1) Who in the Church of England has the power to change these decisions?
2) Who will accept responsibility for not changing them if we want to challenge these matters in detail at the next meeting of the General Synod?
3) How do we change the decision-maker if access to justice is denied?
I do, of course, refer to justice to accused and accuser alike, which can only emerge from fair and independent process. In short, if the shabby and shambolic behaviour continues, who carries the can?
Surviving Church Stephen Parsons asks Who has power in the Church of England ?
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
Today, the final Friday, was originally intended to be used only for closing statements from the lawyers representing the various parties. However, it was announced at the end of Thursday that an additional witness would be called first on Friday morning. This turned out to be David Bonehill, Claims Director of EIG and and John Titchener, Group Compliance Director of EIO.
The Church Times has a report of what happened: IICSA reprimands Ecclesiastical over earlier advice to C of E and evidence to Inquiry11 Comments
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
Video recordings are available:
Church Times IICSA: I am ashamed and horrified, says Welby21 Comments
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
Transcript for day 7 (Tuesday) See below for further links
Day 8 witness statements
At the time of writing no further documents for day 8 have been published by IICSA, but there is extensive media coverage:.
Press Association via Daily Mail Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’. (this report also appears in numerous other newspapers)
Church Times Absolute power will corrupt bishops, says Sentamu
Doncaster Free Press Former South Yorkshire vicar claims sex abuse reports were ‘ignored’ by clerics
ITV Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’ (includes video report)
And this analysis at Surviving Church: The Matt Ineson IICSA testimony. A crisis of leadership in the Church of England?
Documents adduced on day 7 include the following witness statements:
And there is this media report:22 Comments
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
The transcript of Friday’s hearing is now published.
Witness statements:0 Comments
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
The timetable for Week 2 of these hearings has been published today.
The transcript of today’s (Thursday week 1) hearing is now published here.
Discussion paper by Colin Perkins
Law & Religion UK IICSA: Some more legal views (includes links to more of today’s documents)14 Comments
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
The transcript of the hearing for day 3 (Wednesday) is now available here.
Media coverage has already appeared:1 Comment
Updated 26 July (video recordings added)
Transcript of second day of hearings published here.
Document links (28 in total for day 2, now a total of 7 for day 1) here.
Media coverage:1 Comment