SAFEGUARDING allegations fell by almost a quarter in 2018, the dioceses have reported.
These are the latest figures submitted by the dioceses to the National Safeguarding Team (NST), which published them on Tuesday. A total of 2054 allegations were made in 2018: 24 per cent fewer than the 3287 reported in 2017. The newest figure is similar to those of 2016 and 2015, the year when the NST began collating the statistics.
Of the allegations in 2018, 1589 related to adults, and 915 to children. The largest single category was sexual abuse (49 per cent for children, 20 per cent for adults). Domestic abuse was the second biggest concern (294 cases overall), followed by physical abuse (205), and emotional/psychological abuse (193). Many cases (755) were not assigned a single category.
Of those accused, 34 per cent were church officers, and 16 per cent were clergy: a slightly higher proportion than in 2017 (12 per cent).
One quarter (631) of all concerns or allegations were reported to statutory agencies (the figure was higher, 44 per cent, for allegations relating to children). Disciplinary measures were taken in 49 cases in 2018, of which 24 were under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure. Six names were added to the Archbishops’ list. There were 19 non-clergy disciplinary processes. Dioceses reported 1120 safeguarding agreements in place for known offenders (1056 in 2017).
The NST report raises questions about diocesan record-keeping: “We know that the current data collection operates largely manually, and that we have not yet defined sufficiently the data required to ensure consistent interpretation.” It says that further work is needed to improve the Church’s self-assessment abilities.