Thinking Anglicans

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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Janet FifeBill BroadheadStanley MonkhouseRichard W. SymondsMarise Hargreaves Recent comment authors
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Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

I hope and pray that one day someone, somewhere, will sit down and say “we need to do right by Matthew” [and the others, by name] and then get on and do it. No-one should need a review to have that insight.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

That would require someone, somewhere sitting down and saying “we did wrong by Matthew” [and the others, like Bishop Bell].

Nobody in the Church of England hierarchy has the moral courage to do that – too busy hiding behind reviews, lawyers and insurance companies – and we know them by name.

Angusian
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Angusian

One fears the Church, like local authorities when brought face to face with the irrefutable evidence of abuse, listens to the findings of a report, rubs its hands ruefully and claims ‘lessons will be learned’ and continues on in its way. It’s time for the ‘tables of the moneychangers’ to be upturned and for clergy at every level to acknowledge their ministry is not for each other but for their articulate and informed parishioners.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

And not only for those who are articulate and informed.

Kate
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Kate

Their ministry is for God. Would Jesus, do you think, be happy with a Lessons Learned review? Somehow I doubt it

Kate
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Kate

I ache for Matt. He definitely is not being treated as he should be.

But deeper than that this appears to be another safeguarding failure. Surely the most urgent thing now is to determine whether the individuals to whom Matt disclosed are fit and proper persons to retain safeguarding, or indeed management, responsibilities. Perhaps what is most disturbing is that the process appears designed to exclude any conclusions being reached on that urgent question.

Marise Hargreaves
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Marise Hargreaves

It has taken 2 yrs before anything has actually happened. After 2 yrs no lessons have been learned about putting survivors at the centre and calling those who have failed to account. This is an exercise in self protection and how to do something without actually doing anything meaningful, which has always been the intention. It is the same people who have a history of failure repeating the exercise. The difference is the evidence is now out there for anyone to read. I note organised survivor groups in the US are actively challenging their Bishops, and other interested but hidden… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

That is happening here, but our Byzantine structures and established status make it difficult. You might want to read this. http://survivingchurch.org/2019/08/02/who-has-power-in-the-church-of-england/

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Steve Lewis says over at ‘Surviving Church’:

“Meanwhile the real power-holders hide behind the robes of others. Discerning who they are and how they work, is more of a challenge”

William Nye is clearly one of the visible “power-holders”, but it would be naive to think he is the ‘Puppeteer’.

Who is William Nye’s boss – to whom does he report and get his instructions from?

The answer to that is not pretty.

Marise Hargreaves
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Marise Hargreaves

I agree. It’s not pretty and the tactics being used to intimidate people into silence points to powerful people who are well hidden at present. This goes to the heart of the institution and probably beyond. Follow the money is usually good advice. Someone has an huge interest in keeping control in all of this. Who else is being protected and at what expense?

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

“Cherchez la monnaie” has often proved the most useful guide to discovering the Puppeteer(s) pulling the strings behind the scenes. To that we may now add “Cherchez les enfants”.

Marise Hargreaves
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Marise Hargreaves

Thank you for the link – finding the power behind the thrones is a difficult task when we do know there are closed groups meeting for their own ends. After listening to the lawyer on the Radio 4 Sunday programme re the Matt Ineson so called lessons have been learned review, it seems even more urgent to call for a root and branch sorting out of this. It seems to be more shameful by the hours, if that was possible.

Fr. Dean Henley
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Fr. Dean Henley

Matt Ineson chooses the right word to describe his treatment by the CofE – ‘wicked’. Wicked because he is a child of God who deserves so much better from the bishops not least because he was in every sense a child when he was raped by a priest; but wicked because his analysis of this proposed ‘lessons learned’ exercise and its methodology is manifestly correct – it is a stitch up. The outcome would be more confetti apologies and no action against the milquetoast bishops who passed by on the other side, each claiming that some other bishop was responsible.… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

“It is a stitch up” [Fr Dean Henley] – and a “protection racket” [Revd Graham Sawyer]: “The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Well said, Dean

Bill Broadhead
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Bill Broadhead

The only conclusion I can reasonably draw from the way Matt Ineson has been treated is this: ‘This is how we deal with anyone who dares to blow the whistle and expose the weaknesses of an already fragile institution and its compromised leadership. Others be warned’ What if all Licensed clergy refuse to participate in the MDR process, and parishes refuse complete the annual statistics for mission returns and archdeacons’ articles of enquiry, until this situation has been resolved with the justice and fairness it deserves? It certainly needs something like this to give the two archbishops a wake-up call… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

I think your conclusion is correct. Some years back I knew a bishop who refused to correct a manifest injustice to a clergywoman on the grounds that to do so would ‘discredit the system’. The cynicism of that should be shocking, but it seems to be the way they operate. I like your idea for boycotting MDR (whatever that is), statistical returns etc. Unfortunately many clergy and active laypeople don’t seem to want to know, and many prefer keeping their head down to active protest. However, if a few wealthy churches started withholding heir parish share until the Church did… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
Guest
Bill Broadhead

I have only just got around to responding to your point, Janet. MDR is the acronym for Ministry Development Review, that bi-annual box-ticking exercise that all clergy on Common Tenure are required to undertake with a bishop or archdeacon (and those on freehold are ‘encouraged’ to do so). All large scale developments start with one small step, so I’m taking up Janet’s challenge. I have just reduced my monthly giving by 62% (the proportion of our parish’s income that is given over to Common Fund), and have informed the parish treasurer why. The balance will go to the NSPCC. Anyone… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Thanks Bill. I’m retired and had blissfully forgotten about ministry reviews. I don’t recall the acronym being used in my day.

Congratulations on your stance. Mammon has powerful influence in the Church. I hope you’re informing the diocesan secretary/Board of Finance of the reasons?

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Archbishops and Bishops (“and their legal overlords”) need – among other things – to deal with a very serious problem of ‘unconscious bias’ which is eating away at their institution from the inside. In today’s papers, and yesterday’s Sunday Times, Sir Richard Henriques stated that Police should not to refer to people who claim they were subject to sex abuse as “victims”, but rather as “complainants”. This is nothing new. It was stated in the Henriques Report on Operation Midland, published (in a redacted form) on 31 October 2016 [Paras 1.12 to 1.20 and Recommendation 1. Pages 13-14]. Lord Alex… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Bill B and (another thread) Dean H are absolutely right – as are other commentators. It’s hard to be positive and constructive about this. It’s hard to remain buoyant as a public representative of the organisation in the face of this bad behaviour by its hierarchs. I can only conclude that Church House Pyongyang has spoken. How long before Mr Ineson needs protection?