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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church Investigation Report

Contents

A.3: The Church in Wales

16. The Church in Wales is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion, with its own constitution and systems of governance and administration.[1] It was disestablished from the Church of England in 1914. It has 1,295 churches and around 600 clergy. On average, in 2018, the Church in Wales had approximately 26,000 worshippers on a Sunday, but it is not the largest religious denomination in Wales.[2]

17. The Church in Wales has six dioceses, each with a diocesan bishop. The collective bench of bishops meets four to six times a year to discuss a wide range of matters. Each diocese also has its own board of finance and administration, run by a diocesan Secretary. Bishops are responsible for faith and ministry – ie how worship is conducted – and how Christianity is to be taught and spread in the area.[3] One diocesan bishop is elected as Archbishop of Wales. While he or she is considered to be “first amongst equals”, he or she has no control or jurisdiction over the other diocesan bishops. The six cathedrals – each with a dean and a number of canons (who make up the chapter, which is the governing body of the cathedral) – are independent of the diocese so are not under the control of the diocesan bishop.[4]

18. Decision-making is through the Governing Body, a body of elected lay members (people who worship in a parish or cathedral), elected clergy and the diocesan bishops. It meets twice a year, but a standing committee organises and implements the work of the Governing Body.[5] Administration is managed by the Representative Body (made up of 26 clergy and lay people, half of whom are elected), which meets three times each year.[6] It controls the Church’s policies and procedures, and looks after the assets of the Church (including property ownership). It is insured along with each parish, so any claims for child sexual abuse would be brought against the Representative Body.

19. Clergy in the Church in Wales are office holders, but are subject to standard terms of service. Their current terms of service identify that all clergy should have training in safeguarding and all relevant guidelines issued by the Church in Wales must be observed. The guidelines also require them to refer disclosed allegations of abuse to social services, and also to the provincial safeguarding officer.[7]

20. Decisions about safeguarding issues are made by provincial safeguarding officers and a provincial safeguarding committee of provincial safeguarding advisers (from dioceses) and lay members with expertise in child protection with an independent chair.[8] Updated safeguarding policies were implemented in 2016. The Church has had national compulsory safeguarding training since 2015, run by the NSPCC and which all clerics are expected to attend. Training was also recently implemented for all lay members who work with children and young people.[9] The Church in Wales meets regularly with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales about safeguarding.

21. The Church in Wales has a disciplinary tribunal (made up of judges and lawyers) separate from Church structures. Since 2000, the Church in Wales has been the subject of 11 civil claims brought against it by individuals alleging child sexual abuse.[10]

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