March 20, 2018
By Rose Gamble
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is due to give evidence on Wednesday at the national inquiry into child sexual abuse.
Over the past three weeks, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has been examining how the Church of England handled allegations of sexual misconduct stretching back to the 1950s, focusing on the Diocese of Chichester.
Archbishop Welby joins two former Archbishops, serving bishops, safeguarding officials and abuse survivors in giving evidence – or submitting witness statements – to the hearing.
In a statement read by his counsel Nigel Giffin QC on the opening day of the hearing, Archbishop Welby apologised for the church’s “deeply shaming” failure to protect children.
“That children have been abused within communities of churches is indeed shameful,” he said. “We agree..that the voices of these children are not to be marginalised and that the future prevention of such abuse is and must be a very high priority,” the statement continued.
The Church of England’s national head of safeguarding, Graham Tilby, admitted at the start of this week that despite major investments into safeguarding, the CofE still did not have the systems in place to ensure that cases of serious abuse within the church would be reported to his team.
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