Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Church child abuse review completed

Archbishop of Canterbury
The review was announced by Rowan Williams in 2007

Thirteen cases which needed formal action have been identified following a Church of England review into child abuse in the church.

About 40,000 diocesan files dating back more than 30 years were examined during the investigation.

The review was launched in 2007 following claims the church had covered up abuse dating back decades.

Six of the cases were referred to police, who said they were unable to take any further action.

As a result of the review of 40,747 files, 11 cases were referred to the authorities. Eight involved a member of the clergy and three involved a non-ordained person holding some form of church office.

Five of the cases had originally been investigated by police and some had resulted in convictions, the church said.

Action by the statutory authorities was not possible in two further cases, relating to members of clergy, but they were deemed by the reviewers to warrant formal disciplinary actions by the church.

The individuals involved in those cases will be referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority for consideration for inclusion on their barred list.

Vigilance

The other six cases were referred to the police for investigation but they said they were unable to take further action.

In three of these cases, a risk management strategy has been put in place by the diocese's multi-agency child protection management group. There are no cases where a police investigation is still ongoing.

The review involved the examination of personnel files held on diocesan staff, clergy, and lay ministers.

Some 900 letters were sent to bishops, senior clergy and diocesan staff asking for further information.

Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, Bishop of Hereford and chair of the church's central safeguarding liaison group, said: "While no such review can be perfect, and we can never let our vigilance slip in this vital area of concern, we have done all we can to ensure that it has been as comprehensive as possible.

"It indicates there are no outstanding issues of which the church has previously been made aware relating to any clergy or other office holders' suitability to work with children that have not now been investigated by the police or other relevant professional authority."

He added there was no room for complacency and the church remained committed continually to developing procedures for safeguarding vulnerable people.

In 2007, three people were jailed for abuse dating back decades. In each instance, the church had been alerted but failed to take action.



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