Church of England implementing new rules to prevent clergy sexual abuse

The Church of England has issued a progress report, one year on from the publication of a major report into safeguarding in the Church.

The Elliot Report, issued in 2016, came as a result of investigations into 'the treatment of 'Joe', a victim of clergy sexual abuse. 'Joe' reported that he had disclosed information about the abuse he suffered on several occasions but hadn't received an adequate response.

As a result, a number of measures were put in place, which the Church now says it is implementing fully. These include, 'Strengthening of the training for handling disclosures with a bespoke module for bishops and senior church staff; an independent audit of safeguarding in all dioceses, due to be completed at the end of the year; further plans to work more closely with survivors to learn from their experience.'

At the time the report was received the Church said the Archbishop of Canterbury would ensure that all recommendations were implemented as soon as possible.

Today, the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally, said, 'I continue to be absolutely committed to ensuring that the implementation of these recommendations is carried out at all levels of the Church, I know this was the promise of the Archbishop of Canterbury when he read the Report. I have had personal contact with Joe throughout the year and am aware of the ongoing suffering and pain he has endured as a survivor of this terrible abuse. As a Church we must do better in our response to all survivors and I am encouraged that by working through the implications of this review we are already starting to see a more unified approach to safeguarding training and awareness. Practical changes resulting from any review are always important but these must be accompanied by a hearts and minds sea change so we respond with compassion to all who come forward. I know for Joe progress may not be fast enough but I am reassured by that we are moving in the right direction.'

The Churches Child Protection Advisory Service has welcomed the update on progress being made. Justin Humphreys, Executive Director of Safeguarding at CCPAS said, 'We are pleased to hear of the good progress that has been made towards implementing the recommendations published in our report. These are serious issues that need to be addressed and we are encouraged by the comments made by Bishop Sarah today, and the on-going commitment of the Church of England to implementing the recommendations across all levels of the Church.'