Bishop responds to publishing of report into Church child sexual abuse

On Tuesday 6 October, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its report into the Anglican Church.

It found that the Church of England failed to protect children and young people from sexual predators within its ranks. 

  • You can find the report here

The report is based on public hearings held during July 2019, which examined the response of the Church of England and Church in Wales to allegations of child sexual abuse, as well as the adequacy of current safeguarding policies and practices.

Responding to the publishing of the report, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester said:

"Today, as the entire Church of England receives this report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, we first pay tribute to all the victims and survivors of church-context abuse whose brave testimony has allowed this report to come into being.

"Testimony which has been given at huge personal, emotional and spiritual cost. For this we must be both grateful for their courage, and ashamed of the abuse and re-abuse they have experienced.

"Myself and all within the Church must now take time to sit with this report, to listen to what it has to tell us, to learn, to repent and to act. This I will be encouraging across our parishes and among our senior leadership, as we pray for God to help us bring about the profound changes needed in the Church.”  

Speaking to BBC Radio Kent, Bishop James said that the report highlighted shameful behaviour within the Church:

"There is a corporate shame and we as church leaders need to own up to that and to express it and to embody it."

Listen to the interview in full below:

 

The Venerable Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge and Bishop's Lead for Safeguarding in the Diocese of Rochester said:

"We know that abuse in the Church is under-reported and we hope that awareness of this report may also encourage others to come forward and speak to us or other agencies.

"We will listen and support anyone who has been abused whenever it happened. We want to work with victims and survivors so we can continue to learn lessons and make our churches safe."

Speaking on Sky News she said that it would be niave to think the incidents highlighted in the report were of a previous era:

 "The Church has been a place that has not taken safeguarding seriously enough. We've been naive, there's been collusion, there's been poor practice...While we've seen improvements, we've still got a long way to go."

  • Read a response from the national church here

Anyone who is affected by the publication of the report, or who wants to talk to someone independently regarding a concern they have about something they have experienced in a church, now or in the past, can contact the Safe Spaces helpline, on 0300 303 1056 or email: safespaces@victimsupport.org.uk.

Safe Spaces is an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse. Run by the charity Victim Support, it is funded by the Church of England together with the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church in Wales. It is free to access via telephone, email and web-chat. Visit www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk/

The Diocese of Rochester’s own Safeguarding Team can also be contacted on 01634 560 000 or their contact details can be found here. Other organisations offering support can also be found on the national Church of England website here
 
If you are or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 999.



 

ENDS

For more information please contact Jennifer Ross, Communications Manager for the Diocese of Rochester on: jennifer.ross@rochester.anglican.org / 07526 171 583




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