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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church Investigation Report

Contents

D.2: Conclusions in respect of the Church in Wales

46. The Church in Wales has a centralised safeguarding structure with provincial safeguarding officers responsible for safeguarding in dioceses throughout the Church in Wales. The provincial safeguarding officers are spread too thinly. There are not enough provincial safeguarding officers to meet the demands of the role. Greater resources, both in funding and personnel, are required.

47. The Church in Wales recognises that its policies and procedures require review and reform in the light of changing circumstances.

48. There were examples of good practice in individual cases. Reverend Christopher Watkins dealt very effectively with a safeguarding case by responding quickly, taking decisive action and putting the welfare of the child at the heart of his decision-making (see Annex 3).

49. The Church in Wales has not, to date, had a programme of external auditing. As a result, it has not benefited from independent scrutiny of its safeguarding policies and procedures.

50. A significant problem for the Church in Wales is record-keeping. The sampling exercise demonstrated both poor record-keeping and an absence of records. This is consistent with other internal reviews of the Church in Wales. There should be clear policies in place on record-keeping. In addition, safeguarding staff need to have access to the relevant personnel files.

51. The Church in Wales has struggled to identify what action it should take where statutory authorities determine that no action is required by the police or local authority. In such cases, the Church in Wales requires a clear process for carrying out an investigation and fact-finding to determine whether disciplinary action is required and to inform a risk assessment.

52. There has been no clarity or consistency in how agreements enabling offenders to worship in the Church in Wales are organised and managed. The Church in Wales is producing written procedural guidelines concerning the establishment, monitoring and review of offender management safeguarding agreements.

53. The system of discipline in the Church in Wales has some strengths. In particular, the Church in Wales has an independent safeguarding body which reviews all complaints and decisions about whether complaints go to the Clergy Discipline Tribunal. This body is not tied to a diocese. Having a disciplinary tribunal process which is wholly separate to the dioceses has provided a measure of independence and impartiality. However, currently the Church cannot discipline clergy or other church officers if they fail to follow professional advice from provincial safeguarding officers or recommendations from the safeguarding panel.

54. It should be for provincial safeguarding officers and not for clergy to decide which cases should be referred to the police or social services, and what action should be taken to keep children safe.

55. The Archbishop of Wales admitted that there is no effective monitoring of the ministry of Church in Wales chaplains operating in external organisations, even though they are licensed by the Church.

56. The Church in Wales is clear that persons convicted of child sexual offences cannot hold trustee positions but does not have a clear stated policy in relation to appointing other members of its Governing Body.

57. There has been very little systematic provision by the Church in Wales for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. There has been no systematic access to counselling, therapy and other forms of help.

58. Information-sharing about matters relevant to safeguarding between the Church of England and the Church in Wales is piecemeal and lacking any formality. The Church in Wales and the statutory authorities have no formal information-sharing protocol with the police forces and social services departments in Wales.

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