Survivors respond to independent abuse report on Church of England

By staff writers
April 5, 2019

The action group MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) has responded with dismay and frustration at the Church of England's failure to respond adequately to key recommendations from an independent, expert review.

They are particularly concerned about the C of E's refusal to allow safeguarding to be handed over to a fully independent body.

In a statement, MACAS and a number of survivors of abuse in a church context said: "The report from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) illustrates the Church of England’s comprehensive failure in the treatment of victims of its own abuse.

"The church’s leaders should now be putting their hands up to their collective and individual failure to respond authentically and honestly to survivors.

"SCIE’s independent research indicates that less than one in five people who reported abuse in the church say that they received a satisfactory response, and more than half never received any meaningful response at all. [2.1.1] The report also speaks of the church’s failure to understand the lifelong impact of abuse, and its failure to keep the victim at the centre of its response. [8.1.2]

"Those of us whose lives have been devastated by clergy abuse know this from long and bitter experience. We are victimised first by our abusers, and again by the church’s 'defensive responses' to criticism of its failings.

"For many years the Church of England has responded to the crisis of clergy abuse by saying, 'You can trust us. We’ve got this in hand'. The SCIE report confirms what we have known all along -- that the church can no longer be trusted to manage disclosures of abuse.

"We repeat our call that this work should be handed over to a fully independent body. The church’s General Synod must be allowed proper time to debate these findings -- preferably at an Extraordinary Meeting at which survivors can contribute their expertise, as recommended by the report."

* The full report can be found here

* The Church of England’s response can be found here

* MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors):  www.macsas.org.uk

[Ekk/3]

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