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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church Investigation Report


B.4.4: AN-A4 and the Elliott review

21. AN-A4 has said that, between the late 1970s and 2012, he disclosed his abuse by AN-F15 (a member of clergy) to a number of senior clergy in the Church of England. These included Bishop John Eastaugh (then Bishop of Hereford), Bishop Tim Thornton (at that time the Bishop of Sherborne) and Bishop Paul Butler (the Bishop of Durham).[1]

22. In 2014, AN-A4 started a civil claim, which was insured by the EIO. Prior to this, AN-A4 was receiving pastoral support from Bishop Butler (Lead Bishop on Safeguarding at the time) and the then DSA for the Diocese of London, Sheryl Kent. After his claim began, AN-A4 was told by the DSA and Bishop Butler that they were no longer able to engage with him.[2] Contact ceased as a result of advice within the Church and from the EIO.[3]

23. Bishop Butler and Ms Kent both expressed concern about the advice to cease contact with AN-A4. Bishop Butler sought to have another member of the clergy provide pastoral support to AN-A4.[4] While communication and pastoral support were reinstated two weeks later, the effect on AN-A4 was profound.[5]

24. In 2015, the Church asked Mr Ian Elliott (an experienced social worker[6]) to undertake a review into its response to the allegations by AN-A4. He concluded that the Church of England’s policies were of good quality. However, the management of AN-A4’s case showed a clear difference between what the policy stated and the practice.[7] He criticised the Church for the withdrawal of pastoral support to AN-A4:

The church has a responsibility to respond and to provide pastoral support, and they also need to move beyond the idea that that pastoral support is simply defined by financial considerations. It is not.[8]

He also made 11 recommendations for the improvement of safeguarding.[9] Bishop Sarah Mulally (who led the Church’s response to the Elliott review) considered that the Elliott review was an “important catalyst” for changes to the safeguarding systems and structures of the Church of England.[10]

25. Following the publication of Mr Elliott’s report there was a protracted, public dispute between the Church of England and the EIO regarding whether the insurer had instructed the Church to cease pastoral support.[11]

26. In evidence to this Inquiry, Mr Bonehill, on behalf of the EIO, maintained that the EIO did not instruct “the church to withdraw pastoral care and support”.[12] It was only after Mr Bonehill’s evidence that the Inquiry received further evidence about this dispute, which included the Church’s contact log about the AN-A4 case and two recordings of telephone calls between the EIO and a journalist in June 2016.[13] The EIO objected to the disclosure of this important material by the Inquiry despite having previously discussed it with the press.

27. It is clear from the contact log that the Church’s internal lawyer advised the DSA that, because there was a claim, contact between the Church and AN-A4 should be through his lawyers.[14] The EIO reiterated that the Church “should not be in any further contact with the claimant”.[15] That advice was incorrect. The Inquiry recalled Mr Bonehill to explain his earlier evidence, because the effect of the advice given by the EIO was that there should be no contact with AN-A4, preventing the Church from providing pastoral care and support. It was suggested to us that the EIO’s intention had been to advise that there should be no further contact specifically about the claim. If so, the advice was not sufficiently clear.[16]

28. The EIO now accepts responsibility for its part in the withdrawal of support from AN-A4[17] and has updated its most recent guiding principles.

The making of a formal claim should not prevent any policyholder continuing to support the claimant through the provision of pastoral care or offering support/counselling.[18]

Moreover, the public dispute between the Church and the EIO failed to take account of the effect that the dispute may have on AN-A4.

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