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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


A.5: Terminology

31. The following terms are used in this report:

  • ‘Clergy’: This refers to someone who has taken holy orders, including a vicar, priest, rector, deacon or curate. In both the Church of England and the Church in Wales, they are often office holders rather than employees (ie they are appointed to a position and so do not have a contractual relationship with their parish). Many ministers in the Church of England and the Church in Wales are non-stipendiary (ie receive no payment for their work). Since 2009, many Church of England office holders adhere to ‘common tenure’, which is closer to employment. Those in the Church in Wales are also office holders but have standard terms of service. Priests enjoy considerable autonomy, described on occasion as ‘popes in their own parish’.
  • ‘Church officer’: A church officer is “anyone appointed or elected by or on behalf of the Church to a post or role, whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid”,[1] including clergy, churchwardens, lay readers and others.
  • ‘Parochial church council’: The parochial church council is responsible for maintaining the church and surrounding areas, as well as for appointing the vicar. Congregations may be large or a handful of people. Rural or small parishes in both England and Wales are often grouped together and served by one member of the clergy.

32. Where we refer to those who have made allegations of child sexual abuse and where those allegations have not been proven by way of criminal conviction, civil findings or findings in the context of disciplinary proceedings, they will be referred to as complainants. Where findings have been made, individuals will be referred to as victims and survivors.

33. Where this report refers to members of clergy, their full name will be used when first referred to and thereafter their title and surname only.


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