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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Investigation Report

Contents

H.3: The Survivor Advisory Panel

26. In 2015, the NCSC announced its intention “to prioritise and develop a more sensitive and pastoral response to victims and survivors of abuse”.[1] This led to the establishment of the Survivor Advisory Panel (SAP) in 2016. The SAP’s purpose is:

to ensure the NCSC receive appropriate and timely information and advice from the survivor perspective that will help inform the work of the NCSC and subsequently the safeguarding policies and practices within the Catholic Church of England and Wales”.[2]

27. The SAP consists of eight members (including the chair) and includes victims and survivors, safeguarding professionals, and professionals who have worked with perpetrators as well as with victims.[3] David Marshall, the chair of the SAP, described one of the SAP’s functions as being a “critical friend” to the NCSC.[4] As an example, Mr Marshall told us about the NCSC leaflet Hurt by Abuse, a guide to help victims and survivors disclose their abuse. The SAP was asked to comment on the draft. Rather than revising the NCSC version, the SAP created its own leaflet which was adopted by the NCSC.[5] Mr Marshall also told us that in January 2019, in preparation for the conference in Rome, Cardinal Vincent Nichols met with a number of members of the SAP. Mr Marshall said that this meeting with the victims and survivors, and subsequent meetings in Valladolid in May 2019 were “essential” and that Cardinal Nichols’ response was “very genuine” from which “the survivors took great comfort”.[6]

28. While the SAP now provides local training sessions and training for bishops, there is currently no national programme of training that includes the SAP. Mr Marshall said that this will be considered in a review of the SAP by Baroness Hollins.[7] Baroness Hollins said she will:

look at the strengths, any barriers. I want to see how far that the remit the SAP was given when it was first founded have been fulfilled … and to see whether its role could be extended or developed in any way.[8]

29. The SAP will also be involved in the review of the Church’s safeguarding structure being undertaken by Ian Elliott (a safeguarding consultant).[9] Bishop Marcus Stock, the Episcopal Vice-Chair of the NCSC, said that the SAP provides “invaluable input” into the current and future direction of the work of the NCSC.[10]

30. The creation of the SAP is a positive addition to the Church’s safeguarding structure. The Church should actively work with the SAP to incorporate the victims and survivors’ views into any future changes to its safeguarding work.

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