Thinking Anglicans

Church Times criticises Church of England safeguarding

Today, the Church Times has a lengthy news report, Church safeguarding activity accelerates in advance of IICSA report, which lists various initiatives that have been announced recently by the Church of England.

And it also has a very strongly worded leader (scroll down):

Long overdue

WE HAVE often written about safeguarding in these pages, and will again next week, when the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) delivers its final report on the Church of England. The array of new initiatives unveiled in the past week — the interim fund, the Safe Spaces service, the admission that an independent system is needed, etc. — gives the distinct impression of a church hierarchy that is scrabbling about on the bedroom floor looking for items of underwear to cover its nakedness, knowing that IICSA is about to draw back the curtains and expose its carelessness, cruelty, and neglect. We would have been more impressed by something not so obviously prompted by IICSA and the approach to the Charity Commission.

It is worth quoting from an earlier leader comment, from April 2018: “Past blunders, defensive policies, and deliberate obstruction have cast such a pall that they overshadow the better practices now being introduced, and have left a trail of damage in their wake.” Survivors have, of course, welcomed the new urgency given to this topic, but will be forgiven for not trusting an institution that has put off improvements till this last minute. And there is much still to do. The emphasis during the IICSA investigation was on the Church’s treatment of survivors and perpetrators. Since it finished, much more has emerged about the ill-treatment of those falsely accused, and of faulty procedures that have led to unsafe conclusions. We, too, welcome the new commitment, but will withhold judgement until we see wholesale reforms.

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