Church of England abuse investigation “failed” according to author of review

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Photo of a pad of paper on a table, with a pen resting on topThe author of a review into the Church of England’s 2010 investigation into abuse within its institution has said that it was “botched”, “flawed”, and “failed to give a complete picture of the abuse”. Despite this Sir Roger Singleton, whose report is due next month, has said he found no evidence that the Church was deliberately trying to mislead.

Ahead of the release, the Church has outlined four steps to improvement which it plans to take. An independently chaired panel, some of which will be abuse survivors, will convene to look at options for redress in past cases of abuse, an independent complaints review ombudsman, and more stringent processes put in place for the recruitment of clergy. The Church also plans to work more closely with the Catholic Church to support abuse survivors.

The Church’s 2010 Past Case Review was criticised for the way in which investigators chose which cases would be included in their review, and Sir Roger believes that may have reduced the number of cases of abuse discovered from “near 100” to “just two”. Clerics were excluded if they had died, retired, or were deemed to no longer pose a risk, and as sexual offences that had been decriminalised were also ruled out, cases of abuse involving boys aged 16 or 17 were also not included.

Gary Walker is a senior associate in the abuse team at Enable Law. Gary says:

“Whilst it is good that it appears positive steps are now being taken, I would hope that the Church of England revisit those cases where they may have failed a survivor of abuse and ensure that their voice is heard.

“Hopefully measures will now be in place so if a survivor has the courage to come forward and report abuse, it will be properly dealt with and the survivor will get the support that they deserve.”

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