In addition to the several investigations by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse into specific religious organisations, including the continuing investigation into the Church of England, IICSA’s separate Truth Project has recently published a Thematic Report: Child sexual abuse in the context of religious institutions.
IICSA also issued a press release: Shame and guilt stop survivors reporting child sexual abuse in religious institutions.
The report includes data on religions with a significant presence in England and Wales, including the Anglican and Catholic Churches, Christian faith communities such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists and Methodists, and Islam and Judaism.
The report’s key findings include:
- Those sexually abused in religious institutions were less likely to report the abuse at the time (69 per cent) than survivors (54 per cent) in the same institution.
- Over half of survivors did not report the abuse due to feelings of shame (37 per cent) and guilt (18 per cent).
- Half of victims (48 per cent) knew of others being abused by the same perpetrator.
- One fifth (18 percent) of survivors reported a loss of faith as a consequence of the abuse.
The report also examines institutional failures, with most participants firmly believing others were aware of the perpetrator’s behaviour but did nothing. Sexual abuse was most frequently perpetrated by an individual with an official religious title, such as priest, vicar, imam or elder.
At the Truth Project, survivors are invited to make recommendations for change. Participants told the Inquiry that it needs to address the secrecy that comes from the sanctity of religious institutions and the assumption that religious figures are automatically moral…
The Church of England issued this press release in response: Statement on IICSA Truth Project report.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has recently published a research report on child sexual abuse in religious institutions, including the Anglican Church. It is based on accounts shared by survivors at its Truth Project, and its conclusions and findings are disturbing and in many places shocking.
One of the report’s key findings includes that those sexually abused in religious institutions were less likely to report the abuse at the time (69 per cent) than survivors (54 per cent) in other institutions. We would urge anyone who wants to report abuse and find support to come forward and we promise they will be heard.
IICSA continues to shine a light on the safeguarding practices of religious institutions, including the Church of England, and we are working constructively with the Inquiry as we approach our wider Church hearing on July 1. We commend those survivors who have had the courage to come forward to share their experiences to the Inquiry and in particular to the Truth Project, knowing how difficult this would have been.
We welcomed the findings and recommendations published by IICSA this month, on the Peter Ball and Chichester Diocese case studies. This states that the Church of England should have been a place which protected all children and supported victims and survivors but it failed to do this. It is absolutely right that the Church at all levels should learn lessons from the issues raised in both these reports and also strengthen our resolve to make the Church a safe place for all.
Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop
There has been some media coverage of this: