Thinking Anglicans

Safeguarding update

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.

MARTIN SEWELL
General Synod member for Rochester diocese

Second, there is a book review by Robin GillThree 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
DLT £12.99
(978-0-232-53392-1)
Church Times Bookshop £11.70

Letters to a Broken Church
Janet Fife and Gilo, editors
Ekklesia £12.99
(978-0-99329-426-6)
Church Times Bookshop £11.69

Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse: Creating healthy Christian cultures
Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys
SPCK £10.99
(978-0-281-08131-8)
Church Times Bookshop £9.90 

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Church of England announces review of Smyth case

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…

Update

There has been extensive media coverage of this announcement:

Church Times Smyth review will take evidence from Welby and Titus Trust

Telegraph Justin Welby ‘to give evidence’ as investigation begins into Church camps where boys were beaten

Guardian Welby in spotlight over sadistic abuse claims at Christian camps

BBC Church’s handling of John Smyth abuse allegations to be probed

Daily Mail Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby may testify at inquiry into claims of sadistic abuse at Christian holiday camps

Premier Independent review to look at Church of England’s response to John Smyth abuse allegations

Christian Today Independent inquiry to probe Church of England’s handling of John Smyth allegations

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Safeguarding director writes to newspaper

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.

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QC criticises Church of England safeguarding reviews

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.

Kate Blackwell’s professional CV is available here, and her Wikipedia page contains more interesting information on her.

The Church of England declined to put up anyone to respond to either interview.

Updates

This morning’s Church of England daily media digest report did not include this item (even though it did include an earlier item from the same radio programme).

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)
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0007b3r

See more detail in the comments below.

A full transcript of both interviews has now been published here.

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Church of England announces Past Cases Review 2

Updated Friday

From here, released today

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:

PCR2 Protocol and Practice Guidance

PCR2 Background and Overview

PCR2 Full Appendices for Practice Guidance

Update

Church Times Review and survivors’ helpline seek to close era of shortcomings in Church’s safeguarding

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Matt Ineson challenges the National Safeguarding Team

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.

The transcript of Matt’s oral evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on 10 July can be found here. The video recording of that session is available over here.

Press coverage of that day’s hearing was included here.

Updates

Media reports of this statement:

Premier Witness in Church of England abuse inquiry refuses to take part in internal review

…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.

Church Times Survivor condemns Church’s review of Devamanikkam case

…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 ?

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing day 10

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 Inquiry

Transcript of day 10 hearing.

Video recordings of today’s session are available, part one, and part two.

List of documents adduced on day 10  seven of which have now been published, links here.

Witness statement of John Titchener

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 9

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript of day 9 (Thursday)

Video recordings are available:

List of documents adduced on day 9

Witness statements:

Media reports:

Telegraph The Archbishop of Canterbury banned abuse victim from cathedral grounds after treating his case with “casual indifference”, IICSA hears

Independent Bishops involved in sexual abuse do not get ‘an easy ride’, Archbishop of Canterbury claims

Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury calls for mandatory reporting of sexual abuse

Church Times IICSA: I am ashamed and horrified, says Welby

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing days 7 and 8

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript for day 7 (Tuesday) See below for further links

Transcript for day 8 (Wednesday)

Video recordings;

Day 8 list of documents adduced

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

Guardian Archbishop: church ‘shabby and shambolic’ in abuse case

York Press Archbishop of York denies mishandling clerical abuse allegations

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)

Telegraph Archbishop of York: Parishes are ‘enabling abuse’ by refusing to punish paedophiles whom they deem ‘lovely people’

And this analysis at Surviving ChurchThe 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:

Church Times Bishops not qualified to adjudicate on safeguarding cases, says Munn

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing day 6

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript of hearing for Monday of week 2.

Video recordings:

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 5

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

The transcript of Friday’s hearing is now published.

Video recordings:

List of documents adduced.

Witness statements:

Church Times Church in Wales falls under IICSA’s scrutiny as Archbishop and Provincial Secretary are questioned.

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 4

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.

Video recordings:

List of documents adduced today.

Witness statements

Discussion paper by Colin Perkins

Church Times IICSA: Canon Bursell renews plea to Parliament to render seal of confession obsolete

Law & Religion UK IICSA: Some more legal views (includes links to more of today’s documents)

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 3

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

The transcript of the hearing for day 3 (Wednesday) is now available here.

Video recordings:

List of documents adduced today.

Witness Statements:

Media coverage has already appeared:

Church Times Bishop of Chester tells IICSA that paedophile cleric was ‘penitent’

Chester Standard
Bishop of Chester accepts he failed to pass on vicar’s ‘child abuse confession’ letter to church safeguarding adviser or police

‘Suffer the little children to come unto me’ – former Chester bishop quoted Bible before sexually abusing teenage girl, inquiry hears

Telegraph England’s longest serving bishop blocked lifetime ban for paedophile priest, government inquiry hears

Cheshire Live Bishop of Chester admits ‘misjudgment’ over handling of pervert vicar

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 2

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

Transcript of second day of hearings published here.

Video recordings:

Document links (28 in total for day 2, now a total of 7 for day 1) here.

List of all documents adduced today.

Witness Statements:

Extract from Elliott Report

Media coverage:

Church Times IICSA: Bishop of Buckingham criticises ‘unhealthy’ level of bishops’ power

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Archbishops will refuse debate on Blackburn letter

The Church Times carried a report recently: Synod should welcome bishops’ safeguarding letter.

A LETTER from the bishops of the diocese of Blackburn, which warned that the Church’s mission was “fatally undermined” by the abuse crisis (News, 21 June), should be formally welcomed by the General Synod, two lay members have suggested.

A motion commending its “victim-centred approach” as a “suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission” has been proposed by Martin Sewell, of the diocese of Rochester, and David Lamming, of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich.

They are seeking the permission of the Archbishops to introduce this motion at the meeting in York next month, when the Business Committee submits report on the first day.

This week, they noted that the letter from Blackburn had been welcomed by a number of survivors, including Jo Kind, who addressed the Synod last year (News, 7 July 2018).

“In recent times, we have sought a general debate on a safeguarding theme. Presentations and questions are not the same thing,” they said.

Their suggested motion offered “an opportunity to enable the Church to embrace the important themes of repentance, listening with humility, and pastoral care”.

The archbishops have today rejected this proposal. Below you will find the text of the proposed motion and the text of the reply sent by the Bishop at Lambeth. Note that the proposal was not to debate the IICSA report at all but only the four page pastoral letter from the Blackburn senior clergy.

“This Synod welcome the terms of the Diocese of Blackburn ‘Ad Clerum’ letter dated  17th June 2019, reflecting
on the IICSA report, dated May 2019, on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball, 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.”

From: Tim Thornton
Date: 2 July 2019
To: Martin Sewell, David Lamming
Cc:
Subject: Proposal to ask permission to introduce a motion

Dear Martin and David

Thank you for the e mail you have sent to both the Presidents letting them know about your intention to ask permission to introduce a motion at the Synod in York.

I am writing to let you know that both the Presidents have considered your idea carefully and both feel it is not appropriate at this time and so will refuse you the permission you seek.

Of course your motion is an important one and the matters you raise are crucial for our life as a Church.  However as you both know the IICSA hearing is taking place at the same time as the York session and many of the key people in the NST and others (including the Bishop of Bath and Wells) are focussed on responding to the inquiry and listening carefully to the survivors and all who are giving evidence over this fortnight.

It is also the case that the Interim Report has only recently been published and the NSSG has even more recently sent in its response to the recommendations.  The Presidents do think it is right to allow some more time for people to read those reports and consider their views and reactions to the important and difficult material contained in the report. It is also important to allow the present hearing to take its course before we have a debate on these matters on the floor of Synod.

There are of course questions and space being given to Safeguarding on the Sunday of this session so there will be opportunity for voices to be heard.

I understand this will not be the answer you would like but I hope you can understand the Presidents have given your question thought and do not think that this particular session is the right time to allow for the proper preparation and the availability for all who would and should be there to take part in any such debate.

Yours

Tim

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 1

Updated 26 July (video recordings added)

The transcript of the first day of this hearing, which covers both the Church of England and the Church in Wales, is available here.

Video recordings of today:

List of documents adduced today.

Witness statement of Bishop Sarah Mullally

The Church Times has published two reports of the hearing:

The Daily Mail has this: Almost 400 people in ‘positions of trust’ with the Church of England have been convicted of child sex offences, inquiry hears.

The timetable.for the remainder of the first week is here. The hearings are scheduled to last two weeks.

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Bishop of Burnley calls for Mandatory Reporting

See our earlier article Senior Blackburn clergy reflect on IICSA reports on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball.

The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme carried an interview by Donna Birrell with the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North (starts at 32 minutes, 45 seconds).

BBC Radio Cornwall has a longer version of this interview, listen over here.

A transcript of this (longer) interview is copied below the fold. (more…)

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Two cases of abuse involving evangelical Anglicans

Updated

The Daily Telegraph published a news article on 21 June: Minister ‘spiritually abused’ the vulnerable. This is behind a paywall, but the substance of it was subsequently reported elsewhere:

The original report prompted two statements, one from the Diocese of Southwark and another from Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.

In addition, Emmanuel Church has established a separate website to deal specifically with this, which is located here. It has links to several further documents, including the following:

Two notices dated April and May 2019 signed by the Bishop of Maidstone and 3 others.

Statements and a video recording from an event on 27 June, at which Vaughan Roberts, Sarah Hall (Emmanuel’s Safeguarding Officer) and Andrew Wales QC describe in some detail what the abuse consisted of, and what actions have been taken by Emmanuel Church and by others, in response to the disclosures received. The transcript is worth reading in full.

In a separate but related development, two statements were recently issued by the Anglican Mission in England:

To date, two articles have been published which comment on all of this:

Update

Church Times now has a further story  Fletcher faces allegations of naked beatings which includes the full text of a statement from Jonathan Fletcher:

“As part of a long-standing prayer group, I have in the past been involved in a system of mutual encouragement whereby we set ourselves targets in healthy and holy living and then imposed what I thought of as light-hearted forfeits if we failed.

“These included going without chocolate, cold baths and school-type gym shoe punishments. Although at the time we definitely did not think we were doing anything wrong, I’ve seen since that it could have caused much harm both to individuals and to the reputation of conservative evangelicalism for which I am profoundly sorry. Needless to say, this activity has now stopped.

“In addition, a number of people are reporting that I have had naked massages with them. I enjoy massage and benefit from it. To that end I regularly have it professionally administered. However, if I can avoid the cost by finding a male friend to administer, and in return receive, massage, I do.

“These sessions categorically do not have erotic or sexual overtones and I have never coerced or intended to coerce anyone into an arrangement. If any have felt pressurised by me to do this, I apologise.

“Again, I realise that in the position I have held in the past as an incumbent, it was unwise of me to involve anyone to whom I was also ministering and I apologise for doing so.

“I confirm that I no longer engage in public ministry.”

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Church of England response to IICSA’s report

Press release from the Church of England

Church of England response to IICSA’s report
27/06/2019

The Church of England has published today its response to IICSA’s report on the Chichester diocese and Peter Ball case studies. This is ahead of next week’s wider IICSA hearing on the Anglican Church in England and Wales.

The timetable for the first week of the IICSA hearing on the Anglican Church in England and Wales is available here.

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Church of England Safeguarding Data Report 2015-17

Updated Thursday

The Church of England issued the following press release today.

Safeguarding Data Report 2015-17
19/06/2019

Safeguarding data has been published today taken from annual safeguarding returns, collected by dioceses from 2015-17 and sent to the National Safeguarding Team. This is the first time that trends have been analysed over a three-year period.

The Church of England consists of more than 16,000 churches across the country; with around 1.14 million adults and children making up the regular worshipping community. This means it comes into contact with vast numbers of children, young people and adults every day of the week and safeguarding them is a priority. The majority of safeguarding-related concerns or allegations relate to children or vulnerable adults who attend or who have contact with the Church and their lives within the community.

In any report about data of this nature, it is important to recognise that behind each statistic is a person. Safeguarding is about everyone’s wellbeing and means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture; it is about valuing every person as made in God’s image.

Update

Press reports

Madeleine Davies Church Times Safeguarding reports grow by a half in two years
The full text of the MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) press release referred to in this article is here.

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England finds 50% rise in abuse claims and concerns

 

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