THE Church of England would support a call for an independent
public inquiry into institutional child abuse, including that which
has taken place in the Church, it was confirmed this week. But a
spokeswoman for survivors said that an inquiry focusing on the
Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches was needed, to address the
"very specific dynamics" of abuse in churches, including collusion
On Wednesday, a C of E spokeswoman said: "The Church of England
has said that it would support a call for an independent
wide-ranging public inquiry into institutional child abuse, both in
the Church, and other key national institutions. This position has
"The Church of England recognises that serious past abuse, and
inadequate ways of responding to survivors, have left many deeply
damaged, and that this has to be confronted alongside ensuring
current and future practices are as robust as they can be."
In response, Anne Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Stop Church Child
Abuse (SCCA), said: "We can't say you don't need an inquiry into
institutional abuse, but the issue we still have is that there is
something very specific about the abuse that happened in churches.
. . We found the level of collusion and cover-up seemed to be
symptomatic in both the Catholic and Anglican Church. We saw some
very specific dynamics that seemed to engage in enabling the abuse
of power to continue."
She pointed out that the Church of England had never been
subject to an independent inquiry into abuse. She also raised
concerns that a call for an inquiry investigating multiple
institutions, a costly exercise, would be "much less likely to be
accepted by the Government".
On Saturday, David Greenwood, who chairs SCCA, said: "We have
heard hundreds of stories of abuse of power within the churches,
and the public need to understand the extent of the cover-ups. This
information can only come out in a meaningful way through an
independent public inquiry."