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House of Bishops ‘fully accepts’ IICSA report

20 November 2020

THE House of Bishops has endorsed a motion stating that it “fully accepts” the investigation report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA); “sincerely apologises ” to survivors of abuse; and commits itself to urgently implementing six recommendations (News, 9 October).

A statement published this week by the C of E’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) points to the recent publication of a background paper on safeguarding, which is to be presented to and debated by the General Synod, which meets remotely next week (News, 9 October; 13 November). A comparable motion has been drafted for the Synod.

The paper sets out the proposed joint response to the report from the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG), the House of Bishops, and the Archbishops’ Council, including two further motions: to establish an independent safeguarding structure with a new trustee body (News, 23 October); and, before this, to make interim arrangements for additional independent oversight of safeguarding.

The NST statement on Monday explains: “The independence workstream is about scoping the best structure for independent oversight of the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in place of the Archbishops’ Council. The House of Bishops also agreed that an interim arrangement is put in place prior to the establishment of this new body.”

The other key workstream to implement the recommendations will be a national redress scheme for victims and survivors, and an interim pilot scheme. A co-ordinating task and finish group, a sub-group of the NSSG, chaired by the lead safeguarding bishop, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, is to be established to complete this work.

The statement continues: “The Archbishops’ Council committed to finding significant additional financial resource to support the interim support scheme for survivors, which was announced in September, while work begins on a full redress scheme. The NST is in the process of appointing a new staff member to lead on the redress work.

“It was agreed that workstreams must be undertaken in consultation with victims, survivors, and all relevant Church bodies.”

A further detailed response to the recommendations is to be drawn up, published, and sent to IICSA after the Synod meeting.

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