In recent weeks, there has been considerable publicity about the churchs failings to respond compassionately, effectively and appropriately to victims and survivors abused by clergy, with evidence that the reputation of the church and its senior clergy was the Churchs highest priority. This left victims and survivors disbelieved, unsupported and traumatised.
Whilst this publicity has focused primarily on the Dioceses of Chichester and Lincoln, other dioceses cannot think they are off the hook.
There is a further public hearing in July, which will look at the current safeguarding arrangements across the Anglican Church including:
- The cultural attitudes towards safeguarding and whether safeguarding has been embedded within its structures.
- The procedures for reporting abuse within the church and steps taken to remove barriers to reporting.
- How the church manages concerns about the capability of staff and clergy to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities.
- The system in place for providing counselling support and/or redress for complainants, victims and survivors.
There are a further 12 areas that will be considered.
Whilst Newcastle Diocese has not been and will not be a case study, the recommendations from the independent inquiry will affect every diocese. The five recommendations from the report published on the 9th May are:
- Introduction of safeguarding guidelines for religious communities.
- Amendment to Canon C30 i.e. for church officers to have due regard as this term lacks clarity about what exactly it means.
- Amendment to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to include clergy within the definition of a position of trust.
- Sanctions for failures to comply with safeguarding procedures.
- Disclosure of internal reviews to the national review body.
For more details about the recommendations, or to access the full report, please go to www.iicsa.org.uk
If you have a safeguarding concern or have been affected by any of the recent publicity please contact Ruth Rogan on 07825 167016 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Grant on 07741 633 670 or at email@example.com