Following allegations in a BBC broadcast on the Victoria Derbyshire programme relating to the relationship between with the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc and the Church of England, the company’s Press Office issued the following statement in which, inter alia, it criticizes inaccuracies in the Elliott Report [our emphasis].
Statement from the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc
21 July 2017
Ecclesiastical Insurance Group has issued the following statement today, 21 July 2017, following a BBC broadcast on the Victoria Derbyshire programme relating to the company’s relationship with the Church of England.
A spokesperson said:
“We have great sympathy for the survivors who have suffered such awful abuse and it is hugely disappointing that their view of us has been damaged by factual inaccuracies relating to our company in the Elliott Report. The assertions in the Report misrepresent the facts and we have the documentary evidence to prove it. We were not asked to participate in this review and were not given the opportunity to set the record straight. Contrary to what the Elliott Report claims, we did not advise the Church of England to withdraw pastoral care from the survivor. We have always been clear that pastoral care and counselling can and should continue in parallel with an insurance claim.
“We are an independent insurer that is authorised and rigorously regulated in the same way as any other insurer. We are entirely independent of the Church of England. Like other companies, we have representatives of our customer groups on our Board, from heritage, charity and the arts, as well as one cleric. As a non-executive director, she has no operational involvement in the day to day running of the company.
“We are renowned for the care and empathy we demonstrate in handling and investigating claims, and this approach is embodied in our own Guiding Principles for the handling of PSA claims, which have been praised by survivors’ lawyers.”
The Elliott Review, commissioned in September 2015, was initiated following the disclosure of alleged sexual abuse committed by Rev A on Survivor B, decades ago, when he was a young person. B also reported that he had disclosed this abuse to a number of different people on separate occasions through the intervening years, both within and outside the Church. On each occasion, B reported that he had not received a response which he felt adequately addressed his needs. B also reported two other allegations of abuse – one by a senior church figure, (Brother C).
The findings were published in March 2016 and on 31 March 2017, the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team published a progress report which recommended a range of safeguarding proposals for the Church, particularly in the areas of handling disclosures and accountability.