A report by former Barnardo’s chief executive Roger Singleton has concluded that the initial investigation into abuse by the Church of England failed to identify cases of possible abuse despite a lengthy process which involved the review of over 40,000 files.

The Church’s investigation, the Past Case Review, concluded that out of the thousands of files examined, only 13 cases of abuse warranted formal action. There was evidence to suggest that Church investigators narrowed down the definition of who within the Church could be defined as an abuser by limiting the scope to only new cases and cases where the Church took formal action.

Singleton said that the Past Case Review, which was carried out between 2007 and 2009, ‘failed to give a complete picture’ and alleged that the Church had downplayed the issue to avoid damage to its reputation. However the report was clear that no evidence had been uncovered to suggest that there was any deliberate attempt by the Church to mislead the public during the course of their investigation.

The report was also deeply critical of the Church’s policy of contacting victims in only the most exceptional of cases to ‘minimise the distress’ to them. Singleton commented that it was ‘extraordinary’ that the Church had effectively chosen to exclude victims from the process and by doing so, had omitted their views from the investigation.

As a result of Singleton’s criticisms, seven dioceses across the country have been instructed to repeat their investigations to comply with the recommendations contained within the report. These recommendations include creation of an independently chaired panel, an independent ombudsman and a strengthening of the clergy recruitment process.

The Church of England’s lead on safeguarding Bishop Peter Hancock said the Church had taken the report ‘very seriously’ and that the Church would offer its full support to ensuring the recommendations were properly implemented.

Survivors of abuse have accused the Church of ‘a wholly inadequate response.’


Jordans represent numerous victims of abuse by the Church. If you or a family member need expert advice on a sexual abuse compensation claim, please contact us on a free, confidential, no obligation basis on 0330 300 1103 or request a call back.

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