Last week we reported that the Church of England had issued the following statement on the forthcoming programme “Scandal in the Church of England” which to be broadcast on Monday 29 April. The Church has now issued its response to the programme, and a link to the Redstone operation in which the Lincolnshire Police are working in partnership with the Diocese of Lincoln.
Response to BBC Panorama programme
Response to BBC Panorama
Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “It has been harrowing to hear survivors’ accounts of their abuse – shared on BBC Panorama – and we issue an unreserved apology for how we have failed them. We acknowledge that the Past Cases Review, PCR, from 2008-10, however well-intentioned was in hindsight clearly flawed, as shown in the independent scrutiny report by Sir Roger Singleton published last summer. The ‘stringent criticisms’ of the PCR, shared with IICSA, are being acted upon and all dioceses are now carrying out a second past cases review, PCR2. We fully acknowledge that it was a serious mistake not to work with and hear from survivors during the original PCR. The new review will ensure survivors voices are heard. We are aware of the courage it takes for survivors to come forward knowing that the effects of their abuse are with them for life.
I would urge anyone affected by the Panorama programme to call the NSPCC helpline number 0808 800 5000.”
Update: The Bishop of Grantham’s statement on the Panorama programme in full:
“Whilst some matters remain under investigation it is not possible to comment specifically on the questions that have been posed to the diocese by the BBC.
The Diocese of Lincoln wishes to acknowledge that past matters have not been handled well. The diocese is committed to learn from its mistakes. I am very sorry that it took so long for justice to be served.
The past abuse that our safeguarding team brought to light, through our revisiting and review of past cases, is all the more appalling given what the public deserve and are fully entitled to expect, which is the highest level of conduct from clergy and all those involved in leadership in the church. All people are made in the image of God and abuse of any kind is contrary to that belief.
It is as a result of our commitment to ensuring justice is served, that our safeguarding team have developed an effective partnership with Lincolnshire Police, working together on Operation Redstone. Together they have worked tirelessly to ensure that convictions were secured where possible and where this was not an option, that risk was managed appropriately. Throughout all recent processes our hope is that victims and survivors have felt heard, and been well supported and cared for, although we acknowledge we may not have always got this right.
Every effort is being made to ensure that safeguarding is part of the DNA of the Diocese of Lincoln. There are high levels of confidence in our safeguarding practitioners from Lincolnshire Police and statutory authorities. There is mandatory safeguarding training that is externally audited and independently validated with support from Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children and Adult partnership boards. Our safeguarding team have delivered face to face training to 3296 people in the past five years.
As a diocese we promise to offer support to anyone who contacts us about issues of harm or abuse and are committed to ensure that churches are a safe place for all.
With best wishes,
The Right Reverend Dr Nicholas Chamberlain
Bishop of Grantham”
[With thanks to Christian Today.]