A letter about safeguarding from Rev Malcolm Lambert, Priest in Charge

A letter about safeguarding from Rev Malcolm Lambert, Priest in Charge

On October 6th, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its Report on the Church of England (and Church in Wales). You’ve probably heard the headlines – it has featured widely in the news. 

The Report is available for anyone to download from the IICSA website, and it makes very hard reading. Summarising its main findings, the authors write:

“The culture of the Church of England facilitated it becoming a place where abusers could hide. Deference to the authority of the Church and to individual priests, taboos surrounding discussion of sexuality and an environment where alleged perpetrators were treated more supportively than victims presented barriers to disclosure that many victims could not overcome.”

“In the context of child sexual abuse, the Church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable.”

“The Church has failed to respond consistently to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse with sympathy and compassion, accompanied by practical and appropriate support. This has often added to the trauma already suffered by those who were abused by individuals associated with the Church.”  

IICSA Anglican Church Investigation Report, october 2020

All of this is shocking and abhorrent, and there can be no excuse for any of it. 

The Archbishops, and the Bishop of Sheffield, have all publicly admitted the mistakes of the past, and committed themselves to taking action. As a church we take notice of all the recommendations and the outcome of the report. While we have had no cases identified we still feel the pain caused by many due to actions of the national church. We must not be complacent.  

We all have a shared responsibility to make St Timothy’s safe for all members of our congregation. We have policies and procedures in place, that are regularly reviewed. We want them to be as robust as we can make them. Siobhan Melville is our Parish Safeguarding Officer, and we encourage anyone to raise any safeguarding concerns with her. All our paid staff and volunteers are required to complete safeguarding training. We are transparent about safeguarding, and our annual report includes information about whether safeguarding concerns have been raised, and any outcomes. 

If you have any questions or concerns, we want to hear from you. We know that the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults is paramount, and we want to make sure this takes precedence over all other considerations.  

You can call me on 07305 859278 or email malcolm@sttims.org.uk

Malcolm Lambert.

You can download the full report at https://www.iicsa.org.uk/publications/investigation/anglican-church

If you, or anyone you are in contact with, are affected by the publication of this report and want to talk to someone independently you can call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or email: safespaces@victimsupport.org.uk