DOZENS of new allegations of historic child sex abuse in the
Church of England have been made since September, a survivors'
organisation has told ITV News.
The channel reported on Tuesday that the support group Minister
and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS) had received 164
complaints in this time period, of which 136 related to the Church
A spokeswoman for survivors of abuse within churches, Anne
Lawrence, warned in February that the Church would face a "deluge"
of complaints as the national inquiry into historic child abuse got
under way (News,
ITV News said that Church of England representatives had said
that the Church did not collect figures nationally, but by diocese,
and that it could not confirm how many survivors had been in touch
with it directly.
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, who leads on
safeguarding, said in a statement: "Our paramount concern is always
for the survivors, and, as with all institutions, the current
climate means that they are being encouraged to come forward. . . .
We can only apologise when we have not got it right, acknowledging
that, for survivors, the effects of abuse are lifelong.
"As a Church, we are not there yet, but are committed to
improving all our safeguarding work around children and vulnerable
adults, along with working with survivors and other organisations
to improve our safeguarding practice.
"We are in the middle of implementing new legislation and best
practice across all dioceses, to make the Church a safer place for
MACSAS had criticised the new legislation, arguing that it
"relies too much on discretion exercised by a diocesan bishop".
Bishop Butler argues that bishops will have to have due regard to
guidance that is due to be presented to the House of Bishops next