2022 brought a seemingly constant flow of Church of England safeguarding-related news that was difficult to avoid for its abuse survivors. We detail below some of the year’s key events with links to further information.
In a year when the Church of England threw even more money at its Safeguarding operation, it ended with a vote of ‘no confidence’ in a widely signed open letter to the Charity Commission.
The year also went by with little improvement to the lives of survivors waiting for repair. Redress launch was not only missed, but kicked a year or two further down the road by the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding.
As at 29th December 2022, our Delays page shows the following are overdue. Our thoughts are with all those affected by these delays:
THE SMYTH REVIEW – The review into the serial abuser, John Smyth is now over 940 days overdue.
THE DEVAMANIKKAM REVIEW – The review into the Church’s handling of allegations relating to the late Revd Trevor Devamanikkam is now over 1819 days overdue.
THE REDRESS SCHEME – is now over 267 days overdue.
Notable paper released
Safeguarding: Value for Money? – Josephine Stein, Surviving Church
Dr Josephine Stein analyses the Church’s huge current spend on Safeguarding and comments on its ‘value’.
Notable paper released
Graham Gregory: Lessons Learnt Review, Feb 2022
An entirely different approach to survivors of abuse, A Graystone – March 2022
Notable paper released
Falling Among Thieves – Temple Tract by Andrew Graystone
The Temple Tract Falling Among Thieves offers a highly relevant theological reflection for all those concerned by people’s experiences of abuse and church responses. It is based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan and uses this story to shine light and hope on the gathered testimony and stories of victims and survivors, as well as on ways the church has responded and could respond. It is honest and hopeful, and a good base for further reflection and action.
‘Re-dressing’ victims’ wounds – Opinion, Church Times
Later in the year, Leeds Church Institute held a broadcast “event for learning and action for change and safer churches” – primarily centered around “Falling Among Thieves“.
Introduction and thoughts (Youtube) – Andrew Graystone
Dr Catherine Beaumont responds to the Temple Tract
Dr Susan Shooter responds to the Temple Tract
House of Survivors website launched
Set up to collate some of the key pieces of narrative between the Church of England and their survivors of abuse, the site was launched in April 2022 to strong accolades:
“I welcome this new website and thank all those who have been involved in its creation. It is a helpful resource, which will be added to, but also a challenge to us all @churchofengland to continue to do better.”
The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Fr Alan Griffin review: London Diocese, Jul 5, 2022 – A lessons learned review commissioned following the coroner’s inquest in 2021 into Fr Alan’s death
Redress Scheme delay
Survivors desperately waiting for promised redress from the Church of England were dealt a heavy blow listening to the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding speak at July General Synod.
Having previously announced (4 October 2020) in a BBC interview that he expected the church to have a redress scheme for survivors of church abuse in place within “15 to 18 months”, the Lead Bishop told General Synod that the scheme may be ready to launch in 2024 or 2025. This is despite the Public Inquiry IICSA stating that “19.4. The provision of redress should not (within the confines of relevant civil law) be hindered by the structures of the Church. “
Notable paper released
Institutional Betrayal – compounding the Trauma – Fiona Gardner, Surviving Church
CofE appoint 3rd National Director of Safeguarding in 2 years
Chair of ‘Independent’ Safeguarding Board (ISB) steps back
Following a concerning second complaint of data and confidentiality breach, Professor Maggie Atkinson, chair of the ISB steps back from her position.
Independent safeguarding chair steps back – Thinking Anglicans
PCR2 released (after delay)
Past Cases Review 2 was released by the Church of England in Oct 2022. The review searched through 75,253 personal files (commonly known as blue files) — some dating back to the 1940s — in each of the 42 dioceses to find allegations of abuse or neglect and to understand how those allegations were identified and handled.
More than 380 cases of church-related abuse – nearly half of which involved children, were newly identified.
Following the release, a number of online articles discussed the findings, what they revealed and what would be done as a result:
More than 380 cases of abuse identified in second national safeguarding review of the C of E – Church Times (5th October 2022)
Culture in the CofE according to Past Cases Review 2 – Stephen Parsons, Surviving Church (9th October 2022)
Looking down the wrong end of a Telescope. Further thoughts on PCR2 – Stephen Parsons, Surviving Church (20th October 2022)
“The sky is black with chickens coming home to roost” – Martin Sewell, Surviving Church (2nd November 2022)
Ecclesiastical Insurance underline their own poor practice
The Church’s own insurance company, Ecclesiastical underlined their own poor history of settlements for abuse in October this year when a survivor received more after costs for a data breach by EIO, than in their settlement for whole life of impact for childhood sexual abuse.
IICSA Final Report released
IICSA – The Independent Inquiry into Childhood Sexual Abuse has concluded all of its hearings into abuse within institutions and released its Final Report on October 20th 2022.
Summarising the findings of the Anglican Church’s investigation, IICSA states:
“In the context of child sexual abuse, the Church’s neglect of the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and vulnerable.”
The Church of England released a response to the publication of the final report on 20th October 2022.
Changes to ISS
Following pressure from survivors and their advocates, in October the CofE updated their Interim Support Scheme webpage stating that they have agreed to extend financial (and therapeutic) support beyond the current twelve-month limit.
Report released by ISB Survivor Advocate
DON’T PANIC-BE PASTORAL – Jasvinder Sanghera CBE Survivor Advocate
Open Letter to Charity Commission, Surviving Church & Thinking Anglicans – December 2022
Response to the Open letter from Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, Survivor Advocate and Board Member, Independent Safeguarding Board