Dakin suspends Key over abuse policy

15 March 2013

BBC

Chilly: heavy snow closed Jersey airport, on Monday

Chilly: heavy snow closed Jersey airport, on Monday

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has supported the decision by the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, to withdraw the commission of the Dean of Jersey, the Very Revd Robert Key. A statement from the diocese of Winchester said last Friday that the action amounted to "effectively suspending" Dean Key.

The announcement was made on the same day that an independent report was published, which had been commissioned by Winchester diocese's safeguarding panel. The report, which was written by Jan Korris, a psychotherapist, identified "a number of failures in the implementation of policies in relation to a safeguarding complaint in 2008", the diocese said.

The diocese said that the report had raised "concerns" that the Dean "did not comply with key safeguarding procedures" when dealing with a vulnerable 26-year-old female parishioner, who made complaints about "abusive behaviour by a churchwarden" at a church in Jersey. The report does not name the church or the individuals involved, although it uses initials.

The diocese said that the report identified "an apparent failure to take the complaint seriously, a perceived lack of neutrality, poor communication, and lack of action".

The Dean of Jersey is the most senior Church of England cleric based in Jersey, and is commissioned in his office by the Bishop of Winchester. Canon 16 of the Jersey Canons states that the Bishop of Winchester is "the chief pastor of all that are within the Island of Jersey".

Bishop Dakin said last Friday that the report "suggests that, put simply, our policies were not implemented as they should have been". He expressed disappointment that Dean Key "refused to co-operate with the review", and said that he had "now ordered an immediate and thorough investigation".

In a statement issued on Saturday, Archbishop Welby commended Bishop Dakin's "swift, decisive, and wholly necessary actions". He added "my own personal apologies to the young woman who was so badly let down by those she had turned to for help", and offered his "wholehearted support" for the investigation being implemented by Bishop Dakin.

"Every day, the vulnerable come to us for shelter, for support, and for comfort. Their trust cannot be taken for granted."

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, who chairs the C of E's National Safeguarding Panel, said: "The report highlights that best practice in dealing with vulnerable adults is a vital part of safeguarding, and we will continue to monitor the situation, so lessons can be learnt."

Speaking on Tuesday, Bishop Dakin said that the Bishop of Basingstoke, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, had been in Jersey since last Friday. Bishop Dakin was scheduled to travel to Jersey on Monday morning, but had been prevented from doing so by heavy snow, which had closed Jersey airport. He said that he was "very committed to being out there and seeing clergy, and giving people support". He had taken legal advice before deciding to withdraw Dean Key's commission.

Dean Key could not be reached for comment.

On Wednesday, the Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, supported the Bishop of Winchester's actions. He described the Dean as "highly respected", and noted the the removal of the Dean's commission was a "neutral measure".

Methodist safeguarding. The Methodist Church announced on Wednesday that it was "undertaking a comprehensive review of every safeguarding matter it has dealt with over the past 60 years, in order to learn the lessons of the past". The review will be headed by Jane Stacey, a former deputy chief executive of Barnardo's.

The Jersey report can be read at www.cofewinchester.org.uk.

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