Bishops approve changes to C of E procedures on child abuse  

03 June 2016

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THE House of Bishops has approved changes in safeguarding procedures, prompted by a report concerning an abuse survivor whose complaint was ignored for years.

The Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, presented the House, when it met in York last week, with the list of changes sug­gested by the Elliott report. 

The report concerns "Joe", who was the victim of an attempted rape by the Revd Garth Moore, a former diocesan chancellor, who died in 1990 (News, 4 December). Joe was later emotionally exploited by Michael Fisher, a Brother in the Soc­iety of St Francis, and later Bishop of St Germans.

The Elliott review called for sweeping changes to the Church’s fundamentally flawed" safe­guard­ing procedures (News, 18 March). The changes include retraining senior clergy in hand­ling disclosure of abuse, and mea­sures to ensure that insurers cannot prevent the offering of pastoral care to survivors.

Bishop Mullally, who was asked to lead the reforms, said that with the House’s backing she could now begin to roll them out "as soon as possible".

"I am encouraged the House has given me the full support to lead on implementing the recom­menda­tions but equally I am aware that for survivors this will not seem like soon enough as they have struggled for years to have their voices heard," she said in a state­ment on Wednesday.

Before the meeting, Joe com­plained in an open letter to the Bishops that there had been total silence from them since the report was published in March (News, 27 May). “I call on the House of Bishops to repent at your meeting,” he wrote. “The House of Bishops needs to show clearly that you are finally able beyond the eleventh hour to work rapidly for profound change in your culture and structure.”

Bishop Mullally said that the Bishops had pledged their support for the reforms, and she repeated her apology to Joe for the “appalling abuse”.

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