Nadine Dorries says she was 'ignored' when she told CofE about sexual abuse

(Photo: ITV1)

Tory MP Nadine Dorries has claimed that her disclosures of sexual abuse were met with "silence" from the Church of England.

The former culture secretary wrote in a column for the Daily Mail that she reported the abuse, suffered as a child at the hands of an Anglican priest, to Lambeth Palace who arranged for her to meet two bishops at the House of Lords to discuss her complaint.

She wrote that a secretary at Lambeth Palace - the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury - assured her that the allegations were being taken seriously and offered her counselling, which she declined.

She alleges that during the meeting with the two unnamed bishops at the House of Lords, details were taken and they promised to conduct a full investigation.

Despite this, she says she never heard back from them.

"What followed, from that day to this, was silence, despite my following it up and requesting a further meeting," she said.

She likened her experience to that of Matthew Ineson, who said his disclosures of abuse by the late Rev Trevor Devamanikkam to the then Bishop of Sheffield and current Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, and former Archbishop of York, Lord Sentamu, were not acted upon.

The Devamanikkam review into the Church of England's handling of the allegations, published last week, said his claims were "substantiated".

Reflecting on his case, Dorries wrote, "Matthew, now 55, says the impact on his life was devastating. He had been abused and then he was ignored.

"His story resonates strongly with me."

She later discovered that her abuser had since passed away.

She added, "How many more of us — people like Matthew Ineson and myself — are there out there? People who were abused as youngsters and then ignored.

"The Roman Catholic Church has, with good cause, been the focus of much of the historic child sex abuse in recent decades, and that has suited the Church of England.

"But it cannot escape the evil that lurks within its own cloisters any longer.

"Until the Church takes appropriate action on all cases reported to it and adopts a zero-tolerance approach to safeguarding, that evil will continue to haunt it for years to come."

Commenting on the claims, a Church of England spokesperson said, "We can confirm that the National Safeguarding Team has been in ongoing contact with Nadine Dorries following her brave disclosure of childhood abuse by an Anglican vicar, now deceased.

"We have offered support and have left open the offer to speak further so the Church can learn lessons from this case.

"We are sorry that when the matter first came to the Church's attention in 2015 that she did not experience the response she should have received."