New Cases Across Lancashire

A national Past Cases Review, ordered by Anglican Church Chiefs, has identified 11 new cases requiring further attention in Lancashire.

The newly uncovered incidents have taken the total of known incidents involving members of the Diocese of Blackburn requiring further attention to an astonishing 120.

The Diocese of Blackburn commissioned two former senior police detectives to review 1,089 files involving allegations of abuse of children and vulnerable adults in Lancashire alone. Of those files 287 related to clergy and 174 related to lay readers, of which 11 cases were found to merit further attention.

Former councillor and Blackburn and Darwen Council’s children’s services boss, Maureen Bateson, commented on the matter:-

‘These figures are very alarming. An extra 10 percent of cases is a big number’

‘I was only aware as a councillor of two or three incidents involving one person.’

‘The Diocese must look carefully at the procedures that have historically been in place. I would hope that the current investigation and referral protocols are fit for purpose and robust.’

The acting Bishop of Blackburn and Burnley has apologised for the church’s failures in the past, and for the ‘pain that has been caused to so many individuals by such failures, pain which in many cases has ruined lives.’

The Nationwide Review

The review into past cases was ordered following concern that a previous exercise only identified 13 cases across the nation requiring further action. To put this into perspective, the recent Past Cases Review found that 383 cases nationally merited further attention and investigation.

Not only has the review referred a significant number of cases to the police and local councils, it has called for changes to the existing processes which are in place to protect children and vulnerable individuals. For example, the report has recommended a charter to ensure the voices of children are heard.

Over the past couple of years, there has been much criticism of the culture within the Church. Various reviews have uncovered victim- blaming, deference to those in power and a lack of accountability, resulting in failures to protect children from abuse. Shortcomings of the church were particularly brought to light during the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IISCA).

Fortunately, improvements have been made to safeguarding over the years and there is far more awareness of the risk of abuse. However, the changes will never take away from the pain that the abuse has caused victims.

Civil Claims in Relation to Abuse

At Farleys, we act for many survivors who have suffered abuse at the hands of Church of England personnel. Sadly, it is something that we are seeing more and more often as people come forward to report historic abuse.

It is often the case that perpetrators have abused their power and offended on multiple occasions. Therefore, despite many cases being classed as historic, when multiple survivors report matters to the police there is a good chance of a criminal investigation and conviction.

Following investigations by the police or the church itself, we present vicarious liability claims against Dioceses. Church of England personnel, such as clergy and church officers, are considered employees of the Diocese and therefore the relevant Diocese is liable for the effects of and loss caused by the horrific abuse.

Our main priority is to obtain adequate compensation for survivors, to reflect the pain and suffering experienced and assist victims in getting the help that they quite rightly deserve.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a religious leader, we are available to discuss this with you. Our dedicated team support hundreds of survivors throughout the process of bringing a civil claim, treating every case with sensitivity, confidentiality and integrity.

Contact us in confidence on our dedicated abuse line on 0330 134 6430, by email, or by using the chat button below.