Diocese carries out review into past safeguarding concerns
All Church of England priests in Cornwall have been asked to check their records to ensure that all safeguarding concerns have been reported to the appropriate authorities.
They are required to take part and make a declaration in what is being called the Past Cases Review 2, which has been ordered by the House of Bishops.
The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, has written to all CofE clergy in parish ministry within the Diocese of Truro, asking them to check back through parish records. In parishes currently without a priest, the churchwardens are being asked to complete the review.
The previous past cases review, carried out in 2007, looked at all safeguarding complaints made against clergy in relation to children. The new review has been broadened in scope and will look at all complaints made against not only clergy but all church officials, and will also take in complaints that relate to vulnerable adults as well as children. It will be carried out in all parishes within the Diocese of Truro, which includes the Isles of Scilly and two parishes in Devon.
Clergy are being asked to go back through their records and complete a declaration that all concerns and allegations have been dealt with appropriately. Any that are found not to have been reported to the relevant authorities will be reported now.
In common with other Anglican dioceses, the Diocese of Truro has hired independent reviewers to scrutinise the parish declarations to ensure that cases have been dealt with appropriately.
Bishop Philip said: “It is important we do everything we can to make our churches the safest places they can be. This review will help us to ensure that the concerns reported to our churches have been dealt with properly, and the care taken that people deserve.”
Anybody who would like to give information or make disclosures about church-related abuse is asked to email the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor, Sarah Acraman, on Sarah.Acraman@truro.anglican.org.uk, or to call 01872 247351 and ask to speak to Sarah.
Alternative way to report
An alternative is available for anybody who does not feel comfortable making contact this way. A dedicated helpline operated independently from the church by the NSPCC is available on 0800 802020. Anyone can use the helpline to provide information or to raise concerns regarding abuse within a Church of England context; whether they are reporting issues relating to children, adults or seeking to report poor safeguarding practice.
The safeguarding team at the diocese is also aware that there may be people who have experienced abuse (of any form) in a church context, and who might want to talk their experiences and feelings through before taking any next step. The organisation First Light has been commissioned to provide a ‘listening service’ in these circumstances. To access this free service, please contact First Light on 0300 7777 4777, or email email@example.com.
Victim Support also provides a service for people who have suffered abuse or a crime against themselves or a loved one, and has a free support line on 01392 475900. They can also be contacted on victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk.