I have read the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report and it makes for harrowing reading. The report contains recommendations for 15 major institutions which have clearly failed children; this includes the Church of England and I welcome the initial response from our lead safeguarding bishop, Jonathan Gibbs.
I have been in post now for 38 days and as the new National Director for Safeguarding it is my role and responsibility to drive and support the many programmes of work that are currently underway, to make the Church a safer place where the voices of our most vulnerable are not only heard but valued. The voice and participation of all victims and survivors of abuse are paramount and should be the golden thread in everything we do to improve our safeguarding policies and practices. We are committed to the development and implementation of a survivor engagement framework with victims and survivors.
I am extremely sorry for the hurt and mistrust caused by the Church’s lack of safeguarding, we know that we need to learn from these lessons and ensure that we have stringent preventive measures in place to avoid these terrible experiences happening to others.
In the coming weeks dates will be provided by [email protected] to offer survivors and victims an opportunity to meet with me to raise concerns and give their views on the National Safeguarding Team, NST and wider safeguarding improvements in the Church.
I would be particularly interested in hearing from young people about how we may improve the voice of the child in the Church. If you would like to take part or provide your views, please do contact the same address above. (Please note parental consent would need to be provided for those children/young people under the age of 18)
Should you need to discuss any matters with me directly, I would ask you to email. My social media is not monitored daily, and while an important awareness tool, I do not use it for direct engagement, so you may not receive a response. But I would like to ensure that all comments or complaints are recorded and tracked so please do email me on the address above or via the form at the bottom of this page A Safer Church | The Church of England
I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the near future, particularly survivors and victims of any type of abuse and relevant groups and/or organisations.