The Church of England issued a Press Release on the independent Lessons Learnt Review (11 May 2023) into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late Revd Trevor Devamanikkam, extracts of which are reproduced below.
Published on 27 July 2023 was a statement from the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, concerning Lord Sentamu following her meeting with him on 25 July; this expresses her concern with his public statement following the Learning Lessons Review and indicates that she does not feel able to grant him her Permission to Officiate within the Diocese of Newcastle, or delegate authority to him.
Trevor Devamanikkam review published
The independent lessons learnt review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late Revd Trevor Devamanikkam has been published today.
Trevor Devamanikkam was due to appear in court in June 2017, charged with six counts of sexual abuse in the 1980s, against a 16-year-old. However, he did not arrive for the hearing and was found dead at his home later that day. An inquest found that he had died by suicide. In 2012 and 2013, the survivor, himself a member of clergy at the time, alleged he made a number of disclosures of non-recent abuse to senior clergy, and they failed to act on them.
The review was commissioned by the National Safeguarding Team, NST, and carried out by Jane Humphreys, a Senior Social Care Consultant, and previous Director of Children’s and Adult’s Services with a career spanning more than 30 years.
Its purpose is to identify both good practice and failings in the Church of England’s handling of the allegations, including its safeguarding practice, in order that the Church can take steps to enhance and improve its response to allegations of abuse and thereby ensure a safer environment for all.
The reviewer concludes that, although Trevor Devamanikkam was not convicted of the offences against him, the survivor was sexually abused by him. She makes a number of recommendations for the Church including about lessons learnt reviews and responding well to survivors; as well as the need for clear guidance to all clergy and Church officers as to what they should do and who they should take advice from if copied into an allegation of abuse.
She also addresses and outlines the survivor’s request not to engage with the Review, noting that she has drawn on his written experiences and accounts of events from his submission to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in July 2019, and from other documents.
The Press Release includes:
- a statement from independent reviewer Jane Humphreys;
- a statement from lead safeguarding bishop, Joanne Grenfell;
The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell welcomed the report and gave his commitment that the Church of England will learn from the recommendations to ensure the Church is a safer place for all.
The Press Release concludes with the following contacts for anyone affected by the publication of the report.
- If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by the publication of this report and want to talk to someone independently, please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or visit safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk.
- Alternatively, you may wish to contact the diocesan safeguarding team in your area or the National Safeguarding Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There are also other support services available.