Putting abuse survivors first

Church Times

04 AUGUST 2017

John Titchener responds to recent criticism of Ecclesiastical’s handling of claims

THERE has been much recent discussion in the media about Ecclesiastical’s handling of abuse claims brought against the Church of England, with particular focus on the experience of one survivor at the centre of the Church of England’s Elliott review (News, 28 July).

As the only insurer to publish our approach on handling abuse claims, we believe in making the claims-handling process transparent and understandable. Recent media discussion has misrepresented our claims process to such an extent that we feel we must put the record straight.

Child abuse is reprehensible and traumatising. We agree with the broad thrust of the Elliott review in promoting the needs of survivors and the importance of listening to them. But its assertion that Ecclesiastical instructed the Church of England to deny a survivor pastoral care is untrue. Unfortunately, we were not asked to participate in the review, and so had no opportunity to provide the evidence that showed this. On the contrary, we have always been clear that pastoral care and counselling can and should continue in parallel with an insurance claim.

This inaccuracy has led to broader misperceptions among victims and survivors about what actually happened, about how abuse claims are managed, about our own claims-handling record, the nature of our business, and our independence.

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