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Devamanikkam review challenged by survivor

25 November 2019


The Revd Matthew Ineson gives evidence to IICSA, in July

The Revd Matthew Ineson gives evidence to IICSA, in July

A FORMER director of adults and children’s services, Jane Humphreys, has been commissioned by the C of E’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) to carry out a “lessons-learnt” review of the handling of allegations relating to the late Revd Trevor Devamanikkam, it was announced on Friday.

Devamanikkam raped the Revd Matthew Ineson when he was 16 (News, 29 July 2016). A review was originally proposed in September 2017, shortly after Mr Devamanikkam was charged with three counts of rape and three counts of indecent assault of a child. He took his own life the day before his trial (News, 16 June 2017).

Mr Ineson has complained about the way his case has been handled in the past, naming four bishops and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, and said in the past that he will refuse to contribute to any review commissioned by the Church of England, declaring that the review process is “worse than useless” (News, 2 August).

In a comment on the Thinking Anglicans blog at the weekend, he writes: “My position remains the same as it always has.”

A spokeswoman for the NST said that Ms Humphreys “will look at written and verbal evidence from the survivor who brought the original allegation of abuse” i.e. Mr Ineson.

The statement continues: “The reviewer will also make contact with the relevant archbishop and bishops as well as those safeguarding professionals in the Church who dealt with the allegations and external agencies.”

The NST statement describes Ms Humphreys as a “highly experienced senior social care consultant, and previous director of children’s and adults’ services with a career spanning more than 30 years”. She has a “proven track record of directing service reviews and ensuring preparation for Ofsted and CQC inspections”.

Ms Humphreys is quoted as saying: “As an independent reviewer, I am committed to working in a transparent way and will ensure that anyone who wishes to provide evidence to the Review will be heard. I will also ensure that all relevant documents relating to the Church’s handling of this case are looked at so lessons can be learnt to enable the Church to be a safer place for all.”

Speaking after his appearance at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in August, Mr Ineson said: “Under pressure from the IICSA inquiry, the Church announced that it was ready to go ahead [with a review]. After waiting for two years, I was given a matter of days in which to comment on the terms of reference and the chosen reviewer. I have decided it is not possible for me at present to engage with the review” (News, 2 August).

He went on: “I regard the Church’s lessons-learned review process as worse than useless. . . Lessons cannot be learned if no one is held to account.

“For all these reasons, I regard the proposed review into the abuse by the Revd Trevor Devamanikkam as a sham, and I will not participate in it.”

Mr Ineson wrote at the weekend: “The Church are steamrollering ahead, trying to control an investigation into themselves. This is open to corruption. I would work 100 per cent with a genuinely independent review. This is not it. . .

“This review is a review into how the Church handled my disclosures both before and during the police investigation plus events after Devamanikkam’s death.

“It is wrong, therefore, that the Church appoint the person who is going to investigate their actions, write a terms of reference into the investigation . . . and control the whole investigation into themselves. We have repeatedly asked the Church to work with us to have a totally independent review, which they have refused.”

Speaking on Monday, Mr Ineson repeated: “How on earth can those being investigated appoint the person investigating them?”

The report is expected to be published next year.

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