The Church of England has been carrying out a second nationwide review of potential cases of abuse within the church, for the first time focusing on both children and vulnerable adults. This review is making sure that all recent and non-recent safeguarding concerns have been dealt with properly.
Within the Diocese of Newcastle, the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman appointed two independent reviewers to study all cases where safeguarding concerns about anyone in the church have been reported, and whether the appropriate measures were taken as a result. In addition every clergy file has been reviewed. This process has now been completed.
The independent reviewers are currently finalising their report to be submitted to the Bishop.
We want to make our churches and church related activities as safe as possible for everyone, particularly children and vulnerable adults. We want to learn from past mistakes by listening to those who have experienced abuse.
The House of Bishops ordered the Church of England to launch Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2) and as part of this, all clergy (and parish safeguarding advisers) have been asked if any and all concerns raised with them about anyone in their parish in the past have been reported and if these concerns were investigated in line with national guidance.
Bishop Christine said: “A previous Past Cases Review by the Church of England in 2008 focused on non-recent cases involving children, but this current review is far more wide ranging, looking at both children and vulnerable adults. Where any safeguarding concerns have been raised about anyone holding a church office, we’re making sure they were handled and dealt with properly. If we find that they weren’t, we will act accordingly and learn from any mistakes.
“We want our churches to be safe and trusted places for everyone. This current review is about being transparent and honest, learning if and where mistakes were made and listening to those who have suffered as a result.”
Further information can be obtained from the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser Carol Butler by email email@example.com or by mobile 07825 167016.
- Past Cases Review 2 Privacy Notice
- Past Cases Review 2 Legitimate Interest Assessment
- Church of England Safeguarding Records Retention Policy
Safe Spaces: an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse
Launched in September 2020, this service offers support to survivors of church-related abuse whether or not a report has been made. This independent service is run by the charity Victim Support and funded by the Church of England together with the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church in Wales. It is free to access via telephone, email or web-chat.
Tel: 0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times)
WebChat - via the Safe Spaces website
We understand reporting abuse may be very difficult and distressing to you and it may add to your hurt if we are not able to immediately assist you. Therefore here are the contact details of other agencies that are available to assist either on a 24-hour basis or through specialist helplines and services:
- NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are worried about a child.
- Child-line: 0800 1111 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are a child or young person and are worried about anything.
- National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are experiencing domestic abuse.
- Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 (open 24 hours). Phone if you feel you are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to.
- Action on Elder Abuse Helpline: 080 8808 8141 ( free phone Monday to Friday 9-5pm).
- National Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999 and is open every day from 12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm.
- The National Safeguarding Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information can be found on the national Church of England website.