Diocese of Portsmouth

    Bishop responds to IICSA report

    14 Oct. 2020

    BISHOP Christopher has responded to the in-depth report on the Anglican Church published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

    The IICSA report said that the Church of England failed to protect children and young people from sexual predators within their ranks. It said that, in many cases, the Church failed to take the abuse seriously and created a culture where abusers were able to hide.

    Bishop Christopher said: “The recent in-depth report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse on the Anglican Church makes public the shameful actions of many clergy and church officers, and also the shameful inaction of many in authority. We have failed many people, especially survivors and victims.

    “I am deeply sorry, and I apologise to those abused in this diocese, and when people were not listened to, or when little or no action was taken after disclosure.

    “The IICSA Report further emphasises the critical importance of continuing to improve not only our procedures but also our approach so that everyone made in God’s image and likeness is safeguarded.”

    The 154-page report, which you can read in full here, makes eight principal recommendations about a range of issues including the Church’s response to victims and survivors.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has promised that the Church will act in response to these recommendations. Despite the improvements in safeguarding over the past years, the Church of England has been clear that it still has more work to do, especially in the area of support for victims and survivors.

    And a motion unanimously passed at the February sessions of the General Synod shows the Church’s commitment to a more fully victim and survivor-centred approach, including arrangements for redress, which are already underway.

    The national Church of England has now promised to study the recommendations thoroughly and will publish a full response in the coming weeks.

    If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by the publication of this report and want to talk to someone independently please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or email safespaces@victimsupport.org.uk. There are also other support services available. Alternatively, you may contact our diocesan safeguarding team.

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