Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse Finds Culture Where Abusers ‘Could Hide’
Lawyers who specialise in supporting survivors of sexual abuse have called for lessons to be learned after a “shocking” report concluded the Church of England failed to protect children from harm.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) has published its report into historic abuse within the Church which found a culture where perpetrators “could hide” was created.
It added that abusers were often given more support than the children they targeted.
The inquiry said the Church of England was "in direct conflict with its own underlying moral purpose to provide care and love for the innocent and the vulnerable," reports the BBC.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Abuse team has vast experience of providing advice and support to people who have been affected by such problems. It has secured settlements totalling several hundreds of thousands of pounds to help those subjected to abuse when under the care of the Church of England, allowing survivors to access the specialist support they require to try and overcome their ordeals.
The team has also previously given evidence to IICSA regarding other sex abuse investigations.
Expert Opinion“The findings of the IICSA’s report are shocking and hugely disturbing. That a culture of abuse appears to have been allowed to manifest itself and remain unchecked for decades will come as a huge shock to many.
It’s clear that lessons need to be learned from these truly appalling problems
It’s also important to highlight the incredible courage and bravery of those who have spoken out on this issue, as through our work we have seen how difficult it can be for survivors of such abuse to come forward and share their experiences.
We hope that survivors feel they don’t have to suffer in silence, no matter how long ago they were abused. Attitudes towards abuse have thankfully changed in recent years and the authorities take such issues far more seriously.”
Luke Daniels - Partner
The report, the latest in a series of publications from the IICSA, said 390 clergy members and other church leaders were convicted of abuse between the 1940s and 2018.
In 2018 there were 2,504 safeguarding concerns reported to dioceses about either children or vulnerable adults, and 449 allegations of recent child sexual abuse.
Professor Alexis Jay, IICSA’s chair said it was "vital" that the Church improved how it responded to allegations of child sexual abuse, and it should give "proper support" to victims.
Ahead of publication of the report, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York apologised to those who had been abused while under the care of the Church. In an open letter, Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell promised to "listen, to learn and to act" upon the report's findings.