Thinking Anglicans

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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Kate
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Kate

So rather than work with Matt and other survivors to find a way forwards which centres them, Sir Roger writes to express how seriously the Church is taking this ie PR for the institution. To me, that letter exemplifies everything wrong with how Matt has been, and is still being, treated

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

1) So, what happens if you have reasonable grounds for thinking that a Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor is not doing their job properly?

2) Can the diocesan episcopacy remain above external scrutiny for ever? What would an independent ombudsman, acting on behalf of the C of E/ Dicoesans look like? Is it a good idea?

Matthew Ineson
Guest
Matthew Ineson

The letter from Roger Singleton to the church times is misleading, wrong in places and one of the worst examples of the church hierarchy ‘them and us’ attitude I have seen in a very long time. To clarify. These ‘independent ‘reviews are in no way ‘independent’. The church commission them, appoint a reviewer, write the terms of reference and claim the right to redact anything they like. An initial draft was sent to me in March which contained significant errors. I consulted with my solicitor and then went back to the nst pointing out the issues. I was told there… Read more »

Matthew Ineson
Guest
Matthew Ineson

The nst and church hierarchy needs lessons in how to treat victims of abuse. If they had ever been one person against the arrogance of such an institution they might behave very differently

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

“And further, an internal email I (Matt Ineson) obtained from a Subject Access Request – I had to report the NST to the Information Commissioner to even get that – states very clearly that ‘no formal apology has been issued or will be until the legal case is settled’. ‘No formal apology…until the legal case is settled” seems to be the diktak of the Church hierarchy (eg Archbishops and Bishops) in almost every abuse case – such as Matt Ineson and Bishop Bell. Of course, informal apologies are thrown about like ‘ecclesiastical confetti’ – especially when there is no legal… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“Beyond a disgrace”

That would be a fair comment in any organisation but the Church of England preaches repentance. I think the conduct is profoundly in-Christian in both the lack of ostensible repentance for the failures in handling Matt’s reports and lack of compassion with which he is allegedly being treated.

Angusian
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Angusian

It appears as if the church is retreating behind its lawyers, claiming their complete lack of genuine concern for victims of crime committed by its employees, is based on legal advice; Pharisaic judgements seem warm and concerned in comparison!

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Some of the things which have happened in recent months suggest to anyone who has troubled to look at Canon law or the strict letter of the law of the CDM (astonishingly, some people don’t seem to see the CDM in that way) that the Church hasn’t had, or hasn’t acted on, competent legal advice. Why all the assumptions here (and elsewhere) that the Church is ‘retreating behind its lawyers’? My impression is precisely the opposite – either the lawyers aren’t being consulted or their advice is ignored. That they could be incompetent is, surely, out of the question. Well,… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

I agree that if the Church were consulting good lawyers they would be behaving differently – Martin Sewell often makes this point. However, Bp. Peter Forster’s evidence at IICSA made it clear the CDM is absolutely justified. He had ignored disclosures of abuse on 3 separate occasions, potentially allowing the abuse to continue. And he had sought to prevent a vicar convicted of possession of child pornography from being barred for life. The vicar had downloaded – not just looked at – 8000 images of child sexual abuse, 800 of them in the most severe category. That basically means torture.… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I read the Bishop’s evidence very carefully. Firstly, I’m not sure about the three separate occasions – the potential risk to which you refer was clearly considered and seemingly discounted by the Bishop. In the event, we know that actually no further abuse occurred for thirty years. The CDM safeguarding provisions were not enacted until 2016, and they are not retrospective. I suggest that a distinction is to be drawn between possible error of judgement and possible misconduct. The limited prohibition was upheld by the then Vicar-General who now happens to be the President of the Family Division of the… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
Guest
Bill Broadhead

Matthew, I hope you will be responding to Roger Singleton’s letter by writing to the Church Times and challenging his inaccurate claims, as well as clearly stating his refusal to meet with you. The more this kind of unacceptable superior behaviour is exposed the better.

Matthew Ineson
Guest
Matthew Ineson

I have submitted my letter to the church times….

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

It’s disturbing that Sir Roger felt it appropriate to write a letter to the Church Times, when he has declined to return Matthew Ineson’s phone calls and refused to see Matt when he was in Church House. I note that Sir Roger has not answered leading QC Kate Blackwell’s criticisms of the terms of the enquiry – in particular that it isn’t in fact independent. Sir Roger’s behaviour; the admission by both archbishops at IICSA that the way the Church has treated Matt has been ‘shabby and shambolic’; and their subsequent refusal to apologise to him even for the original… Read more »

Anne
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Anne

I wonder if this is another case where Ecclesiastical are setting the guidelines/parameters? And Roger Singleton et al are simply obeying their dictates? Just a thought.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Possibly, but that doesn’t explain why Sir Roger hasn’t returned Matt’s phone cals, and refused to see him. That looks more like arrogance and callousness.

Anne
Guest
Anne

It might be exactly why Sir Roger is not talking to Matt on the phone or seeing him. Cf IICSA’s questioning of Ecclesiastical on the last day of the hearing.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

On further reflection, it’s interesting that Sir Roger didn’t even feel the need to explain his refusal to see Matt or return his calls. Does that indicate that there was no good reason? Or perhaps that he’s insensitive enough not to see why it would further compound the cruelty of Matt’s treatment by the Church?

Matthew Ineson
Guest
Matthew Ineson

The latter Janet

Matthew Ineson
Guest
Matthew Ineson

It is because, as the radio interviewer said to me last week-they are trying to manage me, and all victims. That is the mindset.
I will work with anyone who is serious but I will not be ‘managed’ to meet the church’s ends. Nor should anybody.
A man has died for goodness sake. Where is the humanity and compassion? It is still ‘protect the bishops at all cost!’

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Yes, this pathological need to control and manipulate the agenda [and people] is a very serious problem within the Church hierarchy which must be addressed as a matter of urgency. One way of addressing this is to discover exactly who is controlling and manipulating the agenda [and people]. Easier said than done – and I can venture a few theories as to why that might be the case.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I think there may be some lack of clarity about “independence” in an internal investigation (or a lessons-learned review)…. In case there’s any doubt–the Church of England will very likely pay for this investigation/review. This means that, no surprise, the Church of England will get to choose who will conduct it. And the Church of England will get to decide what will be done with the result. In these respects, yes, they who pay the piper will call the tune. In such a situation, therefore, “independence” becomes more nuanced. It is a matter of the credibility of the outside investigator–his/her… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest

Jeremy says: “…the Church of England will very likely pay for this investigation/review. This means that…the Church of England will get to choose who will conduct it. And the Church of England will get to decide what will be done with the result. In these respects, yes, they who pay the piper will call the tune. In such a situation, therefore, “independence” becomes more nuanced” To my mind, the key phrase above is : “…the Church of England will get to decide what will be done with the result”. In practice, if “the result” is found NOT to be to… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Guest
Fr. Dean Henley

So now we have a Knight of the Realm, a member of an order of chivalry, and head of the CofE’s safeguarding team refusing to communicate with a survivor of clerical abuse except under his own (Sir Roger’s) tightly prescribed conditions. Frankly it beggars belief. From what Matt Ineson has said it seems as though Sir Roger hasn’t even skimmed through Matt’s file. A disgrace indeed.

Matthew Ineson
Guest
Matthew Ineson

https://theyoungtractarians.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/season-2-episode-2/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Listen from 22 mins in.

Report on iicsa and fresh call for the resignations of @JustinWelby @JohnSentamu @Steven_Croft and Bishop Peter Burrows.

I totally support this call. All these bishops should resign for their safeguarding failures and lack of legal and moral leadership.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

It would appear that the Church of England is taking the same denial of reality approach to its victims as East Germany. After the uprising of 17. June 1953 against the dictatorship, Bertolt Brecht famously commented on the regime’s response in his poem “The Solution”: After the uprising of the 17th of June The Secretary of the Writers’ Union Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee Stating that the people Had forfeited the confidence of the government And could win it back only By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier In that case for the government To dissolve the people… Read more »