Church of England reviews anti-abuse rules

March 15, 2016

The Church of England on Tuesday said it would change the way it handled sexual abuse allegations in response to an independent review of a case that found "a tragic catalogue of exploitation and harm".

"We should have been swifter to listen, to believe and to act. This report is deeply uncomfortable for the Church of England," Bishop of Crediton Sarah Mullally said in the Church's official statement.

"This report has published a series of important recommendations. The Archbishop of Canterbury has seen these recommendations and will ensure they are implemented as quickly as possible," she said.

The review was commissioned by the Church of England in September 2015 following allegations made by a man named only as "Survivor B" against a cleric, "Rev A".

The recommendations made in the report by the Elliott Review stressed the need for training of people who might receive abuse complaints, the importance of a written record of allegations and of not giving priority to financial considerations.

It said a "National Safeguarding Team" should also be given more oversight powers and an independent body should be established to review procedures.

"The reports of abuse that B has made are credible. They contain a tragic catalogue of exploitation and harm," the report's conclusions stated.

Very few details have been given about the case, although the review's findings made it clear that "B" had spoken about the abuse to people both within and outside the church over a period of several years.

"It has taken him years of heartache and distress to get his story heard and believed by those in authority, and it is clear he has been failed in many ways over a long period of time," Mullally wrote.

A former Church of England bishop, Peter Ball, was sentenced to 32 months in prison last year after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting teenagers in a case that prompted allegations of a cover-up.

A wide-ranging inquiry is also underway into how Britain's institutions have failed to protect children, following a myriad of claims of abuse in care homes, schools, hospitals and churches.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.