The report received by the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) acknowledges that the results of the survivor survey makes for very difficult reading and the Church’s failure to respond compassionately has undermined confidence in the its own safeguarding practice.
The report presents an overview of learning from the 42 audits, carried out between 2015-17, and introduces the additional work conducted by a survey to gather the views of people who have first-hand experience of Church responses, including survivors of clergy and Church-related abuse
It notes the audits have taken place in a changing context and the Church has done much to address early systemic issues raised by SCIE. It therefore summarises and appraises all activity (completed, underway and planned) to address issues that have been raised and makes clear areas where work is still required to improve safeguarding practices.
58 people responded to the survivor survey which focused on how the Church should be engaging with people who come forward; the vast majority said they were dissatisfied with the Church’s response.
Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop and chair of the NSSG said:
“It is essential that victims and survivor organisations have confidence that anybody coming forward to disclose abuse to the Church are treated with compassion, offered support and their concerns and allegations are taken seriously. They must have confidence that the Church will act to address instances of abuse and do all it can to prevent future harm. The Church recognises that significant changes will be required before survivors will have this level of confidence in the Church, and that this undertaking is no simple task. However, it is one that I and my fellow Bishops and the whole Church are absolutely committed to.”