The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report on the Anglican Church, released 6 October 2020, makes an important contribution to the CofE Safeguarding debate. You can find it here:
To read the conclusions and recommendations scroll down to internal page 108 of the report.
It is far from the end of the story for a number of reasons. The case studies which were considered were important, but far from new. Problems continue and there are independent reviews into the abuses of John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher which address more recent abuse and cover-ups which were happening after IICSA began its work. Those reports are delayed to next year as so much new evidence has been coming forward. This is unfinished business.
IICSA itself has yet more recommendations to make and have already indicated that they will report on the important issue of Mandatory Reporting when they have finished reviewing all the faith communities. They will also address the issues of the confessional, having received expert evidence.
The CofE had already begun practical responses, not least restitution, especially to victims of some litigation strategies employed by the Church’s lawyers and insurers.
Victims have offered a qualified welcome to the report, but understandably await tangible proof of change. They are encouraged by the purposeful response of the three Safeguarding Lead Bishops
LLMs and Readers wanting accessible background reading might consider the following: Letters to a Broken Church which collated short essays from survivors, lawyers, priests and theologians and set the agenda in advance of the report:
To heal not to hurt offers useful guidance for all Church leaders, with case studies from actual cases, illustrating the subtle variety of problems that present and modelling good practice: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/to-heal-and-not-to-hurt-a-fresh-approach-to-safeguarding-in-church/132322.htm
Inevitably the commentaries have begun. Here are a few, there are many more to come:
Martin Sewell, October 2020