The Church of England has come under renewed criticism regarding how allegations of child sexual abuse were handled.
The Church’s Past Cases Review was published in 2010, having considered a substantial number of case files relating to allegation of abuse over decades. It was criticised after publication for not presenting a full picture. Further action was recommended regarding only a small number of allegations.
This led to the Church commissioning an independent report by Sir Roger Singleton to consider its review. The report, published on Friday 22 June 2018, concluded that the review was flawed and made a number of recommendations including for relevant files which were not reviewed previously to be independently reviewed and that the diocesan safeguarding adviser should be notified of all safeguarding concerns.
Sir Roger Singleton gave evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in March and his report will be sent to the Inquiry.
IICSA is currently investigating safeguarding and child protection policies and practices in the Anglican Church. The Inquiry also heard evidence in March from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and senior figures within the Church of England will also be giving evidence or submitting witness statements.
The Inquiry will also be considering more specific allegations. For example, the Diocese of Chichester has been in the spotlight following allegations made against the (deceased) former Bishop, George Bell. The Diocese is to be considered by the Inquiry as a case study.
The case of Peter Ball, former Bishop of Lewes who was convicted in 2015, will also be considered.
Sir Roger Singleton’s report is likely to damage further the reputation of the Church in how it has dealt with allegations of abuse. It is to be hoped that the recommendations made, and those which IICSA may make, will be followed to restore trust and prevent abuse in the future.
The solicitors at Farleys have substantial experience of dealing with allegations of sexual abuse within the Church of England and other religious bodies.
We appreciate that it can be very difficult to talk about what happened but rest assured that we will deal with any enquiries sensitively and will speak to you in the strictest confidence. Call our specialist abuse line on 0330 134 6430. If you do not feel able to talk about what happened I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.