Church Safeguarding in Jersey – Progress

In March we reported that the Diocese of Winchester had issued a Press Release stating that, following the publication of the report Independent Review of a Safeguarding Complaint for the Diocese of Winchester, the Rt. Rev. Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, had withdrawn the commission of the Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev. Robert Key, effectively suspending him. The report, commissioned by the Diocese of Winchester’s Safeguarding Panel,

“… found that there were a number of failures in the implementation of policies, in relation to a safeguarding complaint in 2008”, and

“… raises concerns that the Dean of Jersey did not comply with key safeguarding procedures in dealing with the complaints of a vulnerable adult parishioner, who had made a complaint about abusive behaviour by a Churchwarden in Jersey.”

Following discussions between the Diocese and the Bailiwick, this morning the Diocese issued a further Press Release which states

“…  the Dean of Jersey has …  apologised for mistakes in the handling of a safeguarding complaint and added his own apology to that of the Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of Canterbury to the vulnerable person at the heart of this matter.

He has confirmed that he shares the Bishop of Winchester’s and Archbishop of Canterbury’s stated commitment to safeguarding in the Diocese and the wider Church. The Dean was speaking following meetings with the Bishop last week.

The Bishop acknowledges that, although mistakes were made, the Dean believed he was acting in good faith. Following the commitment that the Dean has made, the Bishop has decided that he will issue a new Commission to the Dean with immediate effect.”

Leading today’s 10 am service at the Town Church, which was attended by the Bailiff, Sir Michael Birt, and the Lieutenant Governor, General Sir John McColl, the Dean confirmed that he would cooperate fully with the on-going investigation.

Comment

As we noted in our earlier post,

“[a]lthough there are legal issues arising from the relationship between Jersey and the United Kingdom, the main issue remains the Independent [Korris] Report and the subsequent investigation.”

On 26 March, the Bishop of Winchester published the Terms of Reference for an independently-led Visitation into safeguarding procedures in the Deanery of Jersey. This is to consider the implementation of safeguarding in Jersey and across the Diocese, and provide recommendations for enhancing policies and procedures.  The Visitation will be led by the Rt. Rev. John Gladwin, formerly Bishop of Chelmsford, who will be joined on the panel by the Ven. Norman Russell, Archdeacon of Berkshire and an independent senior lawyer.

In today’s Press Release, the Bishop of Winchester is quoted as saying

“Safeguarding must always be of paramount concern and is a vital part of the Church’s mission. We will now press ahead with the Visitation and Investigation and see them through to their conclusions, as we all have important lessons to learn. At the heart of this matter is safeguarding the vulnerable who have frequently been let down by the Church”.

With regard to the associated legal issues, it comments

“The Bishop and the Dean have also agreed that, in the light of these recent events, there are areas in Jersey Canon Law which would benefit from further review and they are committed to working together as necessary to revise them.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.