Church abuse survivor calls for action after comments from safeguarding expert

By staff writers
December 17, 2017

A high-profile campaigner for justice for victims and survivors of sexual abuse in the Church of England has welcomed public comments from an international safeguarding expert defending the 2016 Elliott Review into abuse, and has asked for robust action in response.

The strong reaction from Gilo, who has also published a widely-supported Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, coame after safeguarding consultant Ian Elliott took the highly unusual step of speaking out to "put the record straight" on the Church of England repeatedly protecting its insurer over attempts to discredit his review into alleged sexual abuse committed by senior Church figures.

Mr Elliott spoke to the BBC Radio 4 'Sunday' programme on 17 December 2017 (programme here; segement c29 minutes in), and also issued further comment, together with an article regarding the evidence included in the Review of Survivor B, to the beliefs and values think-tank Ekklesia and the leading group blogsite Thinking Anglicans. 

In his own statement, survivor Gilo said today: “I’ve been raising questions to the Church about its relationship to Ecclesiastical Insurance for two years now, but saw the questions discredited and ignored by their National Safeguarding and National Advisor. Yet all this time they’ve kept quiet about the core groups [involved in the process].

"I’m not the first to raise questions about the Church and insurer working in close tandem. Survivors have been raising the skewered relationship in person to Archbishop Welby for the past five years. So it is disturbing that the Church [of England] has been sitting on this embarrassing information in this way – hoping it will not see the light of day.

"My impression is the operation is heavily controlled by William Nye (Secretary General of Synod) who the National Advisor directly reports to. I tried to get answers from William Nye as to why my questions were discredited two years ago  – but got nowhere. And despite the growing media interest in this scandal, they still do not provide answers. 

"So I have asked Bishop Peter Hancock and Bishop Sarah Mullally to instigate a review to establish how many pastoral core groups have had this presence under quiet stealth of the insurer. It’s the stuff of Spotlight! (the movie). I have also asked them to examine the NST’s culture of gaslighting and discrediting.

"These core groups are a major piece of the jigsaw in the church’s moral illegitimacy of response to all survivors, and probably a long term pattern. It is time the Church of England came clean on this. And it’s astonishing the extent to which they’ve shielded and protected Ecclesiastical’s deception across the past two years. 

I was shocked to discover recently they did have input into Mr Elliott’s review, despite so many public statements to the contrary. EIG have been allowed by the church to be consistently dishonest, which has caused distress, confusion and deep mistrust. I’m glad that Mr Elliott has finally been able to put the record straight.

"I am aware that the Elliott Review has been openly trashed by caseworkers of the NST and also in Lambeth Palace at very high level. I feel they should put up or shut up  – and get on with real action, real change and real justice instead of seeking to discredit survivors, and discredit independent reviews.

"In my view the Church has been acting in ways bordering on corrupt. It is time to stop discrediting and pretending the questions away. Church House in Westminster needs to be brought into daylight. And I hope this is what the lead bishop will now do.”


* BBC Radio 4 'Sunday' programme interview with Ian Elliott (programme here; segement c29 minutes in)

* Read Ian Elliott's full article: Why I challenge the Church of England and EIG on safeguarding.

* Elliott Review findings (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document).

Article on Thinking Anglicans.

Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS).

Open Letter from survivor Gilo to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Archbishop pressed to bring in manadatory reporting of abuse.


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.