Independent Report Commissioned Into Cases of Sexual Abuse Within Church of England
After the 2010 reviews of allegations of historical sexual abuse, carried out by the Church of England, were called ‘incomplete’ and ‘botched’ a further independent report was commissioned and published last Friday.
Campaigners criticized the Church’s Past Cases Review (PCR), which was published in 2010, for lacking vital parts of the picture as they did not speak to some survivors who wanted to share what they had been through.
Over the course of three years, the PCR investigated over 40,000 clergy and personnel files to look for records of cases of abuse, some of which dated back over 50 years. Of these, they concluded that only 13 allegations of child sexual abuse needed decisive formal action.
Sir Roger Singleton, reviewed how well the PCR was carried out and came to the conclusion that although abuse and misuse of power were downplayed by the report, he discovered “no evidence of a planned and deliberate attempt to conceal information.”
His report, which will be reviewed by the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse, recommended four further steps that should be executed.
These were –
- That an updated review should be carried out by Cathedrals that weren’t involved in the PCR.
- That all files not examined between 2008 and 2009 should be independently reviewed.
- Any concerns about a church employee or how volunteers are behaving should be reported to a diocesan safeguarding adviser.
- That a new sense of energy and purpose should be placed on recording and investigating any issues around safety or abuse.
Bishop Peter Hancock, who is leading the attempts to improve safeguarding protocol within the Church of England, said, “These criticisms have been taken very seriously and acted upon, and the House of Bishops have offered full support to implementing the recommendations in the report and any subsequent actions.
“We are committed to making sure that any known individuals who have not been dealt with appropriately in the past are assessed, and any current potential risks to children and others are rigorously managed, including by reporting these individuals to the statutory authorities for investigation,” Hancock added.
Sir Roger, who led the review, explained to the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the PCR was “botched in three ways.”
“The survey wasn’t completely comprehensive,” he said. “It didn’t include some cathedrals; it didn’t include employees working with children in some parishes. The attempts really to make the survey absolutely complete were flawed.”
He added: “The church needs to complete the incomplete job that it did ten years ago by making sure that all files that are available are actually reviewed.”