The Micah 6:8 initiative was based upon the biblical injunction to “do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your god”. Complainants and respondents who both had shared common experience of CofE injustice and dysfunctionality, sent a letter signed by 70 people to the Charity Commission. The letter highlighted in particular the core groups run by the National Safeguarding Team. The public petition drew over 600 other signatures.
We asked for Bread but you gave us Stones was a 16 page booklet of survivors comments gathered together by Andrew Graystone, an advocate and campaigner alongside survivors.
Sent to all bishops and Synod members in time for the February 2018 Synod, a followup was sent a year later in 2019.
Many survivors and our allies have written letters to successive Archbishops of Canterbury and other senior leaders. We cannot hope to include them all here; many are not in the public domain. We include those which have received significant media attention. They all advocate for justice for survivors and call for transformational change to the Church’s structures and cultures.
One of the cruellest aspects of re-abuse for many survivors has been experienced within the civil claims system and the ugly collusion between the Church’s insurance company, Ecclesiastical Insurance (EIO/EIG), and the law firm Berrymans Lace Mawer (BLM Law).
The links listed here detail harrowing stories of survivors being thrown into an adversarial ‘horse trade’, and reveal derisory compensation, the use of callous language regarding survivors, misleading a public inquiry (IICSA), ‘hired gun’ medical experts including a former Broadmoor psychiatrist, the practice of ‘desktopping’, use of bogus arguments to belittle the impact and trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse, and other unethical practices.
There are usually three Synod meetings a year held over several days in Church House (Westminster) or York University. Several of us have attended and experienced them as highly managed pieces of theatre. Questions seem to be vetoed by the Secretariat and pre-answered before being debated in chamber.
But it’s possible for Synod members to break through the controlling matrix and speak as advocates of change on our behalf. Survivors have worked closely with a handful of Synod members to keep Synod properly informed and able to challenge the hierarchy.
In recent years, in a good move by the Church of England, survivors have been invited to speak.
We’ve seen one initiative arise from the senior team in a diocese. The ‘Blackburn Letter’ followed the IICSA reports into the Diocese of Chichester and the Peter Ball case. Sadly the Blackburn initiative was quashed at the time by the Church’s senior leadership despite strong encouragement for debate in Synod.
This section contains a collection of powerful quotes. These were projected on the wall during the 2018 Safeguarding Summit in York when members of the Survivor Reference Group were invited to lead a day for the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG), Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors (DSAs) and the National Safeguarding Team (NST) and many bishops.