Thinking Anglicans

Update from independent reviewer Keith Makin

Update I have added a statement from the lead safeguarding bishop below the fold.

Press release from the Church of England

Update from independent reviewer Keith Makin
02/07/2024

I can confirm that the representations process, as referenced in my last update on 14th May 2024, is progressing. Those named and criticised in the review report have been given the opportunity to comment on the extracts which are relevant to them. Once their responses have been received and considered and any amendments arising from this made, I will hand the report to the Archbishops’ Council for subsequent publication. This is unlikely to be until the end of the summer as my priority is to ensure that this final stage is carefully conducted, recognising the impact on all those affected. I confirm this will be done as soon as practically possible. At that point the date of publication will be decided by the Archbishops’ Council.

Support

Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. While support has previously been offered the NST has now secured the service of a specialist advocacy service. FearFree Support provides specialist support to victims and survivors of abuse, offering trauma informed and victim led bespoke support. Its director of services has identified an experienced independent advocate for victims and survivors to deliver this service and this information has been relayed to the survivors and victims.

Contact: kate.williams@fearfree.org.uk, mb 07442 968767/helpdesk 01225775276

There is an additional offer of therapeutic support for victims and survivors of Smyth from Yellow Door.

Yellow Door is an organisation that can offer evidence-based therapy to support victims and survivors of abuse and those that have experienced trauma.

Contact Yellow Door confidentially at reviewsupport@yellowdoor.org.uk.

Support for victims and survivors of other Church-related cases can be accessed here.

Statement from the lead safeguarding bishop

Statement re Smyth review from lead safeguarding bishop
02/07/2024

“While I am deeply disappointed that the publication will not be until the end of the summer at the earliest, as the reviewer has stated, I am aware of the complexities and demands of this review, originally commissioned in 2019, on all involved.

My concern is with victims and survivors who are waiting for the report and for the truth and justice that they hope it will bring for them. I understand and deeply regret that victims and survivors are now experiencing further trauma because of this latest delay in the revised timetable.

Colleagues in the National Safeguarding Team are equally frustrated by this further delay and are engaging regularly with the reviewer on this. At this point, given the complex nature of the review, the existing investment of time, and the constraints of data handling, we believe that the best option is still to continue and to wait for the revised timeline for completion. However, we continue to review all options available to us.

We need to ensure in the future that the commissioning of reviews is done differently, and according to the timescales and good practice set out in the Safeguarding Practice Review Code agreed at General Synod last year.”

The Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, Joanne Grenfell

Support

Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. While support has previously been offered the NST has now secured the service of a specialist advocacy service. FearFree Support

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Simon Gell
Simon Gell
21 days ago

I completely reject the utterly fake concern of the Lead Safeguarding Bishop and, by extension, the NST, for the ‘victims and survivors’ of the John Smyth cult. For well over 7 years the NST has actively conspired to delay, dilute and defeat any progress whatsoever in my case of historic church-related abuse. The current Lead Safeguarding Bishop has spent more than 12 months actively taking steps to insure that no progress is made, in fact that things have gone backwards, supported by both Archbishops and the Archbishops Council, and now the ‘Response Group’. The reputation of 2 Archbishops & 2… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Simon Gell
21 days ago

Thank you for saying that, Simon, and thank you for all you do to bring this abuse and its cover-ups to the light. Even bearing in mind the number of survivors, it is outrageous that any report can take this long and I intend to go on saying that to everyone.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Gell
20 days ago

I am so sorry for you and all the other Smyth survivors. The ineptitude, callousness, and cruelty of the C of E is beyond belief.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Janet Fife
20 days ago

Simon you have written several pain filled posts recently and like Helen and Janet I feel for you and the other ignored survivors, not only those of Smyth.
Janet as ever is right on target about the attitude of the Church of England . We are on the eve of Synod and the discussions on the threads are becoming animated over doctrine and perceived ‘ gaslighting ‘ by one group against another – but mainly ignore what Martin Sewell described in a recent post as the ‘continuing shambles’ of Church safeguarding – this without receiving a single comment

Pilgrim
Pilgrim
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
19 days ago

Susanna (no “h”), there is barely a scintilla of credibility left in the CofE regarding its management and handling of safeguarding matters. Leadership fails us. Some of us have to be highly disciplined and restrained and limit our comments.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Pilgrim
19 days ago

Thank- you for this- I hope you and I are both travelling in the same direction- I’m sure longer standing contributors probably know who you are.
But from the old -lady -sometimes -in -a -pew’s perspective please could you explain how it is right for discipline and restraint to trump compassion ?

Pilgrim
Pilgrim
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
19 days ago

Susanna (“no h”), My compassion for survivors/victims is immense. You and I travel in the same direction on this. My working life restricts my contributions…..( I find it incredibly difficult sometimes..) Best wishes.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Pilgrim
19 days ago

Sorry Pilgrim-I should have realised about the tyranny of tied housing …. Are your leaders so completely bullying and abusive to those of you who work for them that you and your colleagues daren’t show any kind of dissent?
On second thoughts , don’t answer that one… but please try and mount whatever opposition you can

Simon Gell
Simon Gell
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
19 days ago

And many more posts previously under the ‘non de plume’ of Adrian James which is how I am referenced in Sarah Wilkinson’s report.
But the ongoing appalling behaviour of the Church Hierarchy (both Archbishops, more than 40 current & former Bishops, the numerical majority of the AC, the NST, Lambeth & Bishopthorpe) since we first reported on 2/2/17 (the evening of the first C4 programme) means that I have had to abandon anonymity.
And of course Justin’s chaplain, IH, and the NST, had breached my anonymity multiple times anyway.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Gell
18 days ago

It’s appalling that your anonymity was breached.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Janet Fife
18 days ago

That is so awful- but not really surprising from this leadership- And presumably you were just given another meaningless apology?
It is such a pity that though the COf E is our established church there is no way of voting out those who run it like the politicians they clearly are .
May Synod look very hard for some teeth.

Simon Gell
Simon Gell
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
18 days ago

I had set out to Lambeth, & the current Lead Safeguarding Bishop in particular, precise details of what would be a minimum acceptable apology from Justin, and the additional items that we requested he apologise for, but were beyond the minimum acceptable. Many months later, in December 2023, he did send us a 3 page hand-written ‘letter of apology’. Some of it sounded genuine and appeared to be written by a human being, presumably Justin to give him the benefit of the doubt. The significant majority of it was clearly drafted by lawyers, and was along the classic C of… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Gell
17 days ago

They don’t learn and they don’t change. The inference is that they don’t care.

Susannah Clark
19 days ago

The statement rightly points out the harmful risk of “re-traumatising for victims and survivors.”

But wasn’t that exactly what happened when the Archbishops Council nuked the processes in place when they shut down the Independent Safeguarding Board (sic)?

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