Survivors of sexual abuse by figures of the Church of England have accused the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, of hypocrisy as he criticised the BBC of the way it handled abuse by Jimmy Saville. He claims that, “the BBC has not shown the same integrity over accusations of child abuse that the Catholic and Anglian Churches had.”
Six survivors of abuse have stated that, “Speaking from our own bitter experience, we do not recognise Archbishop Welby’s description of the integrity with which the Church of England handles cases of abuse in a church context.
Far from the rigorous response and self-examination our experience of the church, and specifically the archbishop, is of long years of silence, denial and evasion. The Church of England needs to confront its own darkness in relation to abuse before confronting the darkness of others.”
Matthew Ineson, who was allegedly raped as a teenager by a Church of England vicar has said, “Welby had shown breathtaking hypocrisy. I know from my own experience, and the experience of others, that safeguarding within the Church of England is appalling. The church has colluded with the cover-up of abuse and has obstructed justice for those whose lives have been ruined by the actions of its clergy. I have been fighting for five years for the church to recognise its responsibilities and I’m still being met with attempts to bully me into dropping my case.”
The BBC has denied the allegations made against them by the Archbishop of Canterbury. A spokesman for the organisation has made the following statement, “When the Savile allegations became known we established an independent investigation by a high court judge. In the interests of transparency, this was published in full. We apologised and accepted all the recommendations. And while today’s BBC is a different place, we set out very clear actions to ensure the highest possible standards of child safeguarding”
Survivors of sexual abuse by the Church of England are planning a protest next week at the end of the meeting of the Canterbury of Anglian primates from around the world. It is their intention to draw attention to what they regard as, “the church’s failure to properly respond to disclosures and priorities survivor’s needs.”
A spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said: “We fully accept the failures of the Church of England in the area of safeguarding. Since the archbishop took up his role he has been very clear that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults should be the highest priority of all parts of the church and was one of the first to call for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
The church’s national safeguarding team was created in 2015 and there are now robust house of bishops safeguarding policies in place along with independent audits for all dioceses and dedicated training on hearing disclosures for all senior clergy. The archbishop fully supports the church’s commitment to develop a stronger national approach to safeguarding to improve its response to protecting the vulnerable.
The archbishop believes this level of rigorous response and self-examination needs to extend to all institutions, including the BBC.”
Jordans Solicitors successfully represent many victims of sexual abuse suffered by members of religious organisations. If you would like to speak to a qualified member of our legal team, please do not hesitate to contact a child abuse solicitor at Jordans today.