British Baptists in 'sad but necessary' historical abuse review

The Baptist Union of Great Britain has written to its ministers about an investigation into historic safeguarding issues.

British Baptists are carrying out a review of cases of "inappropriate behaviour or abuse" by ministers in an investigation that goes back as far as the 1940s.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) has reviewed 4,500 files covering everyone who has served as a Baptist minister, including those who have retired, died or been removed from the list of accredited ministers.

BUGB has written to ministers informing them that some files have been passed directly to the authorities and that others are now being scrutinised by an independent panel of safeguarding experts before further action is taken.

Its statement says: "Where, in the view of the panel, there is a clear case to consider removing a minister from the accredited list, these cases will be passed to our Ministerial Recognition Committee and handled using our normal ministerial disciplinary procedures."

According to BUGB, the number of cases being considered is "very small". It expects the review to be completed by the end of this year.

BUGB is also to introduce better safeguarding training for its ministers, with compulsory refresher courses every four years.

BUGB general secretary Rev Lynn Green said: "We are committed to growing healthy churches in relation to God's mission, and creating and maintaining excellence in our safeguarding practice is an essential part of delivering this commitment.

"This sad but necessary task of historical review is part of our responsibilities in protecting children and adults at risk in Baptist churches across England and Wales."

The review of historic cases follows similar initiatives by the Church of England and the Methodist Church.