Embargoed until  2pm, Thursday 19th April 2012

PRESS CONFERENCE: 19/4/12 AT 14.00HRS,

CONWAY HALL, 25 RED LION SQUARE, WC1R 4RL

 

Alliance to STOP CHURCH CHILD ABUSE calls on the Government to commission a Public Inquiry into abuse of children and vulnerable adults by Clergy in England and Wales.

Who we are

The STOP CHURCH CHILD ABUSE campaign is an alliance of clergy sexual abuse survivors, charities that support survivors, specialist lawyers and interested individuals working in the field of child safeguarding. We have come together to investigate and highlight the serious safeguarding failures of church institutions, from 1954 to the present.

Why we exist

For 20 years the leaders of the Catholic Church and the Church of England/Wales have repeatedly stated that they will respond appropriately to reports of child sexual abuse. Despite these assurances, many prosecutions have revealed that Church authorities have covered up past reports of child abuse and allowed clergy to remain in post despite allegations and in some cases past convictions for child sexual offences. In many reported cases further child abuse has taken place.

Church run schools

Safeguarding arrangements in many church schools are seriously inadequate. For example the Church of England vicar Gordon Rideout was allowed to remain as Chair of Governors at Bishop Bell School, Eastbourne, despite the head teacher and senior clergy being aware of previous allegations of child sexual abuse made against him.

OUR FINDINGS :-

  • From our research between 542 and 1,776 clergy with allegations against them have gone un-prosecuted.
  • Church safeguarding procedures allow Bishops to keep allegations away from the police and social services.
  • There have been recently discovered cover-ups in which Bishops protected clergy.
  • The churches have allowed convicted sex offenders to be ordained.
  • Most church schools do not make a commitment to report all allegations of abuse to the authorities.
  • Failure to implement effective child protection is putting children at risk in 2012.

What are we calling for?

We call on the Government to set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry into child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy, religious and other church officials within all Dioceses and institutions of the Catholic Church in England & Wales and the Church of England and in Wales.

Such an inquiry should have powers to compel the disclosure of all files of clergy, religious and other church officials containing reports and allegations of child sexual abuse. It should receive evidence, both oral and written from victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and religious within parish communities and church institutions and also be able to compel those in positions of authority within Dioceses and religious orders to attend and give evidence. The Inquiry should have the power to make recommendations concerning legislation to improve safeguarding in church institutions.

The Alliance is holding a press conference on

 Thursday 19th April, at 2pm, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL.

 

We will be revealing our research documents in full, discussing safeguarding in schools today and providing documents that highlight current failings within the Church. There will also be the opportunity for more detailed interviews with survivors, lawyers and campaigners afterwards.

For more information contact:

David Greenwood on 01924 868911 / david.greenwood@jordanssolicitors.co.uk

For information on the schools project and for press conference inquires contact:

 Lucy Duckworth on 07427605202 / lucy@napac.org.uk