TOWARDS A SAFER CHURCH - The Moira Gibbs Report: An Abuse of Faith - the Independent Peter Ball Review’

17/07/2017

With the publication on 22 June of the independent report by Dame Moira Gibb, ‘An Abuse of Faith - the Independent Peter Ball Review’, a picture emerged of the failure of the Church to respond appropriately when abuse was reported. A message from survivors is that the Church of England faces a continuing challenge in responding effectively to those who were abused in the past. The following points are taken from the independent report:

  • Survivors often live in the shadow of not being believed for many years, this can be compounded by a lack of support and being vilified by their abuser.
  • The Church has to recognise that the harm caused by clerical abuse is enduring, and help and support needs be sustained and renewed sometimes in the face of rejection by the survivor.
  • The Church’s ‘victim support strategy’ needs to appreciate and work with the complexity of the issues related to clerical abuse and its impact on victims.
  • The Church needs to be prepared for a ‘second wave’: sometimes victims only find the courage to come forward once their abuser is in prison.
  • The Church can help victims and survivors by providing strong and appropriate leadership, good professional practice and learning from the past.

Dame Moira Gibb makes several recommendations, including that:

  • ‘The Church’s services to survivors of clerical abuse should be designed and resourced to take account of: the complex and enduring nature of the harm caused by clerical abuse; the need for specialist victim support services.
  • The Church, recognising that it still has further to travel in relation to adult victims of abuse, should make a particular effort to secure a fuller understanding and more consistent good practice in that area.’

The report also emphasises that the responsibility for responding rests with dioceses and parishes – this is where abuse can be predicted and prevented.

You can read the full report by going to the Church of England homepage, https://www.churchofengland.org, and clicking on the ‘Media Centre’ tab. From there, choose ‘2017’ from the ‘Archive News Releases’ and scroll through the pages until you reach the report under 22 June.

If you have been or are affected by Peter Ball’s abuse or that of other clergy, please contact Ruth Rogan (r.rogan@newcastle.anglican.org or 07825 167016) so you can receive the support or advice that is most helpful for you at this time. The Diocese provides a Listening Service for survivors of abuse and this can be accessed via Ruth.

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