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  • 15 March 2016: Independent inquiry into child abuse urges change of practice in the Church of England

An independent enquiry into the Church of England’s handling of a child sexual abuse case from 1976, reveals systematic silencing, cover-up and failure to act.

The anonymous survivor, who was 16 when he was groomed and raped by an Anglican vicar, Rev Garth Moore, told several members of the church over a period of 40 years what had happened to him, but received no support or meaningful response to his revelation. He opened up to senior figures in the church, who later claimed to have no recollection of these conversations. He also wrote 18 letters to the archbishop of Canterbury. When the survivor formally reported the abuse and lodged a claim for compensation in 2014, the church cut off contact completely because the insurers wanted to avoid liability.

The church has responded to the inquiry’s report with a promise to change their practices. In the future, members of the clergy will be required to record any disclosures of abuse. They are also required to take action, and to prioritise pastoral care of survivors over concerns about reputational or financial consequences.

The report is part of a large scale independent review into institutional child abuse, and comes in the wake of a number of child sexual abuse cases featuring politicians and senior figures in the Church of England, among them George Bell and Peter Ball, former bishops in the Church of England.

Read more about the case in the Guardian.

Ingrid Storm
  • 24 July 2013: Monsignor Leo Cushley appointed as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

The new archbishop succeeds Cardinal Keith O’Brien who stepped down in February after admitting inappropriate sexual conduct. Mgr Cushley has worked in the Vatican’s diplomatic team and is currently head of the English language section of the Vatican’s secretariat of state. The 52 year old will now return to his native Scotland after 20 years abroad. The ordination will take place in September.

Read more about the new Archbishop in The Scotsman

Ingrid Storm
  • 27 October 2006: clergy wins the right to claim unfair dismissal

The clergy has won the right to claim unfair dismissal, with full rights as workers recognised. Ministers of religion were hitherto regarded by the courts as appointed to a holy office and not as employees. A London pastor had claimed unfair dismissal after losing his post, which the church resisted on the grounds that he was not an employee. An employment tribunal rejected this: ’the relationship between church and minister has many of the characteristics of a contract of employment’. The union Amicus (now known as Unite) has 2,500 members among faith workers, and had been campaigning for such rights for over a decade.

’Churchman wins right to fight dismissal’, The Guardian, (28 October, 2006), p. 7.

Siobhan McAndrew

D 23 October 2023    AIngrid Storm ASiobhan McAndrew

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