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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church Investigation Report

Contents

B.2.1: Introduction

1. The Chichester/Peter Ball Investigation Report identified a wide range of deficiencies in the Church’s engagement with victims and survivors and its behaviour towards them.

1.1. Responses to disclosures of sexual abuse did not demonstrate the necessary level of urgency, nor an appreciation of the seriousness of allegations. In particular, the significance of non-recent sexual abuse allegations was overlooked. This was often due to a failure to understand that the passage of time had not erased the risk posed by the offender and a lack of understanding about the lifelong effects of abuse on the victim.

1.2. Many allegations were retained internally by the Church, rather than being immediately reported to external authorities.

1.3. Many who reported sexual abuse were ignored or actively disbelieved by the Church. They were provided with little or no pastoral support or counselling, while their perpetrators enjoyed assistance from those in senior positions of authority.[1]

During the third public hearing, the Inquiry considered these issues in the context of the Church of England as a whole.

2. Ms Jo Kind, a survivor of sexual abuse perpetrated by the clergy and a member of MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors), told us that victims and survivors continue to face “vilification and judgement in the way they are treated, both by Church officers and by the congregations where abuse has been alleged”.[2] She said that in the experience of MACSAS, the Church’s responses to clergy sexual abuse reports are “in almost every case inadequate and suffer from lack of consistency, lack of training and education, lack of independence and in many cases blanking and hostility towards complainants”.[3]

3. Archbishop Justin Welby expressed “sincere sorrow” that the Church of England has failed to properly assist survivors of sexual abuse” and said that it is his “absolute priority to continue to try and get this right”.[4]

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