The Archbishops’ Council has today, 2 August, announced this: Next round of independent safeguarding audits
INEQE Safeguarding Group has been appointed by the Archbishops’ Council to carry out the next round of independent external audits of Church of England dioceses and cathedrals, starting in January 2024. They were appointed after a full and open tender process, which included survivor representation…
This is the only official Safeguarding statement from the Church of England since the announcement of Alexis Jay’s appointment on 20 July, before which there was the 12 July announcement relating to Meg Munn’s departure.
We have heard nothing further of any independent investigation into what when wrong in relation to the disbanding of the ISB.
Update 25 July Written Questions to Church Commissioners:
Ben Bradshaw MP (Lab, Exeter): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, with reference to the announcement by the Archbishop of York of an independent inquiry into the decision to close down the Independent Safeguarding Board, if he will publish a copy of the inquiry’s finings once available.
Andrew Selous: The Archbishop of York has committed that the findings of this review will be made public.
But even more urgent, we have heard nothing about arrangements for the care of those survivors who were already engaged with the former ISB board members.
Jasvinder Sanghera wrote, on 31 July: IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
Five weeks have passed since the body established to provide much needed independence to safeguarding across the Church of England (CofE), was disbanded by the Archbishops’ Council.
They could have used this whole experience to raise the bar higher for victims and survivors, instead, they lowered it, leaving those harmed by the Church in greater distress and limbo. The consequences have been devastating.
We have recently been informed that the Church of England is considering its options, however, this is without regard for what this lack of urgency and care means for these victims and survivors. I wish to enlighten you, as it continues to be irresponsible and unsafe not to speak out about these lives…
Do read the whole article. It concludes with this:
I was pleased to hear that Professor Alexis Jay has been appointed to lead on a plan for future safeguarding and sincerely hope her plans include searching for truth which include engaging with us. The Church of England, especially the Archbishops are now relying on Alexis Jay’s justifiably high status and reputation on safeguarding issues, to give confidence to abuse survivors, most of whom continue to share how they cannot trust the Church.
However, this appointment should not have been the priority, it was the 12 victims and survivors who deserved to be and remain a priority. We are remaining the Data Controllers of their information which consists of their unique experiences and pain, as the majority have requested that no data is to be shared with the Church of England, due to the sheer lack of trust. As we find ways forward regarding the data, I received an email with an option from the Secretary General, which was to simply destroy the data which he does acknowledge ‘survivors may find unwelcome’. This option demonstrates a lack of understanding and compassion towards victims and survivors who have experienced first-hand church abuse.
I find it interesting that Professor Jay states she will quit if the Church interfere. Steve and I had many a day when we wished to walk but we chose to stay as victims and survivors begged us not to quit as they felt the ISB was their last hope. We stayed and faced every challenge in the interest of independent safeguarding. Our last resort was to serve a Dispute Resolution Notice on Archbishops’ Council, which clearly detailed the interference we were experiencing and whilst we awaited mediation, a few days later, we were removed.
What, if anything, has changed? If not now, when?