The Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, Jonathan Gibbs said: “Findings and recommendations from two independent safeguarding reviews relating to the Church have been published separately this week and we recognise that they will undoubtedly have a serious effect on the wellbeing of survivors and victims, particularly of John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher.
"I would like to say personally that we apologise for these appalling behaviours and acts of abuse, recognising that the effects of abuse are lifelong. We are also committed to responding to and acting on the wider issues raised about cultures and behaviours which enabled the abuse to go unchallenged for so long.
"The reviews were commissioned independently by Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon (Fletcher) and Scripture Union (Smyth) with a full report and an executive summary published respectively. As a Church we must learn from these reviews both at a parish and diocesan level and nationally, and the National Safeguarding Team, NST, will be studying both in detail as well as continuing to work together with Southwark Diocese on the Fletcher case.
"Any information from the SU review will be passed on to our independent national review into John Smyth being led by Keith Makin – it is expected to complete later in the year and the report will be published in full.
"The NST will now look at all issues of concern in both of these reviews, particularly where there were failures to act appropriately on information received."
If you are affected in anyway by the publication of the reports please do contact the support services offered through the reviews or call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or email [email protected].
Alternatively, you may contact the diocesan safeguarding team in your area.