Charities Round on Church over "Horrifying Catalogue" of 2,000 Child Sex Abuse Cases

By Tom Batchelor
The Express
May 28, 2015

The report identified around 2,000 victims of abuse

The Methodist Church in Britain has offered an “unreserved apology” for its systemic failure to protect youngsters dating back to the 1950s.

Leading child safety charity NSPCC described the findings as a "horrifying catalogue of abuse", adding: "A vast number of victims must have endured appalling experiences while the Church refused to listen to their pleas for help.”

Responding to the shocking 100-page report, the Church said it was now committed to introducing safeguards for children.

The investigation, which has taken three years, has led to six police investigations into abuse, with the NSPCC warning that “abuse was still being inflicted in recent years”.

The Church said it was "deeply regrettable" that ministers had "not always listened properly” to those who had suffered abuse.

Rev Dr Martyn Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Conference, said: "On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers in Full Connexion and members of the Methodist Church.

"That abuse has been inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the church."

During the independent review, for each identified case the Church's response was judged on whether it had properly followed legal and Church guidelines.

Where possible cases were referred to the police or other action was taken.

The Church said the aim of conducting the review and writing the report was "to learn the lessons of the past so that safeguarding work within the Methodist Church is of the highest possible standard and the church is safe for all".

The review identified 1,885 past cases, which included sexual, physical, emotional and domestic abuse as well as cases of neglect.

In approximately one quarter of these cases (26 per cent), Church ministers or lay employees were identified as the perpetrators or alleged perpetrators.

In 61 of these cases there was contact with the police and there are six ongoing police investigations as a result.

National Secular Society executive director Keith Porteous Wood said: “Methodists now join the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican church in abuse scandals on a breathtaking scale.

"There is also evidence of abuse in Jewish and Muslim settings.

"Of course there is abuse in the home and secular institutions, but the power relationships in religious ones provides extra opportunities for abuse.”

A spokesman for the NSPCC added: “While many of these incidents took place decades ago it is clear abuse was still being inflicted in recent years.

“Having had the courage to ‘come clean’ about the extent of abuse they must now have measures in place to ensure there are no more such incidents and all children they have dealings with are given the protection and support they deserve.”








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