A Church of England inquiry in 2010 into child sexual abuse allegations was “flawed” and “failed to give a complete picture of the problem”, Sir Roger Singleton has said in a new report.
The C of E conducted a “Past Cases Review” (PCR) between 2008 and 2009 to examine the way in which it handled allegations of historical abuse committed by priests, bishops and other individuals. Sir Roger was asked to produce a report on the adequacy of this review.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on 22 June, Sir Roger said that the Church had “botched” the PCR.
Inconsistent and overly specific criteria meant that although the PCR examined 40,000 files relating to abuse dating back to the 1950s, it concluded that just 13 cases needed formal action, explained Sir Roger.
“The survey wasn’t completely comprehensive.” He said that it didn’t include some cathedrals and it didn’t include employees working with children in some parishes.
He added that he believed church press officers downplayed the negative aspects of the report in order to protect the church’s reputation.
Sir Roger said the review was “well intentioned” but he said that the church needed to “complete the incomplete job that it did ten years ago”.
The report will now be sent to the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse, which conducted an investigation into failings in Chichester diocese in March of this year.
It recommends that an updated form of PCR is carried out in seven dioceses.
The C of E’s lead bishop on safeguarding, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, said on 22 June in response: “These criticisms have been taken very seriously and acted upon, and the House of Bishops have offered full support to implementing the recommendations in the report and any subsequent actions."