New Report on Church of England Reveals 400 More Cases of Abuse

On October 5, the Church of England released a report detailing the findings of a three-year internal review. An extensive look into the church’s personnel records uncovered almost 400 new cases of abuse.

The review board read some 75,000 files as far back as the 1940s throughout all 42 dioceses and records kept at the archbishops' headquarters.168 of the cases discovered involved children, 149 involved vulnerable adults, and 27 identified both. The remainder of the cases did not include such data. Two hundred forty-two of the perpetrators were clergy, 53 were church officers, and 41 were volunteers who worked with children. The board found that the cases were dealt with internally without proper investigation or notification to outside authorities.

The 129-page report does not include details of the cases, which the church says have been sent to “safeguarding teams,” but does include a foreword from the archbishops of Canterbury and York, where they expressed “great sadness and profound shame that we, again and again, come face-to-face with the brokenness and failings of our church.”

The two archbishops that lead the church, Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell, apologized to the victims and their families, adding, “It was not your fault, and you are not to blame.”

The report focused on the culture of the church, using the term “protectionism” to describe “a culture which allows alleged and convicted perpetrators to work and worship unchecked, failure to listen and act, disbelief and in some cases diverting blame onto the victim of abuse.”

The report also noted instances of “misogyny, sexism, and attitudes relating to women in the church (especially as ordained priests), as well as to same-sex relationships.”

The church says twenty-six national recommendations were made with the board’s findings, including a national charter for survivors, regular independent auditing of procedures, maintenance of records, and additional training. The recommendations are labeled in categories of “keep doing well,” “continue to do, but more effectively and consistently,” and “must improve.”

It is worth noting that this is the church’s second review. The first review was released in 2010 and found just 13 cases that needed formal action. The author of that review, Sir Roger Singleton, found “no evidence of a planned and deliberate attempt to conceal information.”

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