A DEBATE on safeguarding on the Sunday afternoon will give
members of the General Synod the opportunity to consider whether
the House of Bishops has heeded warnings that Church of England
legislation is out of step with the rest of civil employment
The Synod will vote on a motion that endorses an "unreserved
apology" from the Church of England "for the failure of its systems
to protect children, young people, and adults from physical and
sexual abuse inflicted by its clergy and others; and for the
failure to listen properly to those so abused".
The motion also invites the House of Bishops and the
Archbishops' Council to pursue "as a matter of urgency" legislative
and non-legislative changes.
The Business Committee is invited to bring draft legislation
before the Synod in time for it to be approved within the lifetime
of the Synod.
Before the drafting of the legislation, the Synod is to be
consulted on the changes. The Archbishops' Council is proposing to
remove the 12-month limitation period within which it is possible
to make a complaint of child sexual abuse.
In another change to the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM), the
bishop would be given power to suspend a priest whenever an
application is received, to make a complaint outside the 12-month
period. Canon law would also be amended to enable the bishop to
direct that a priest must submit to a risk assessment.
The final report of the Commissaries tasked with investigating
safeguarding in Chichester (
News, 10 May) warned that the law of the Church of England was
"presently not in line with the rest of the civil law of
employment", and called for "urgent consideration" to be given to
amending the CDM to permit "the compulsory suspension of any cleric
immediately a complaint of abuse which is not obviously malicious
The consultation will end on 30 September.