Church of England approves pilot redress scheme

At a meeting of the Church of England’s  Archbishops’ Council on 23 September, the Council voted unanimously for safeguarding proposals to implement an interim pilot redress scheme for survivors of abuse, and also to strengthen independence in the Church’s safeguarding work.

The move comes in advance of the publication of IICSA’s investigation report into abuse in the Anglican Church and how it has been dealt with by the Church up until now. The report is due to be published on Tuesday 6 October.

At the meeting on 23 September, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said that:

  • The Council acknowledged that to date, it had responded badly to survivors
  • The Council committed to urgently pursue the principle of independent safeguarding recognising the need for greater independence and transparency of safeguarding
  • A a proposed plan for an interim pilot support scheme for survivors had been approved and the Council agreed to draw down reserves for an initial support fund to support those who had come forward seeking support
  • They and the Council were profoundly sorry for the Council’s failings, but believed their words of sorrow were now going to be matched by actions that would lead to real change

The Church of England is currently seeking to recruit a Development Manger for the proposed Redress Scheme which will deal with the three primary elements found in similar schemes: financial compensation, apology and ongoing support for survivors.

The pilot redress scheme, will be aimed at those cases that are already known to the Church, and in which “the survivor is known to be in seriously distressed circumstances, and the Church has a heightened responsibility because of the way the survivor was responded to following disclosure”, a Church of England statement said last Friday.

Bishop Jonathan Gibbs said: “While there is much work now to be done, the decision to start a support fund is an important and vital step in our response to survivors. This is an endorsement by the Archbishops’ Council of General Synod’s unanimous vote in February for a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress.’

The Church has not yet disclosed what sum will be available to fund the redress scheme.

A full paper was put to the Council containing further details of how the interim pilot support scheme would be run, and BLM will provide a further update on the operation of the scheme and on the IICSA report into abuse in the Anglican Church, in due course.


james.chambers@blmlaw.com

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