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Child abuse in churches

July 2015

Every UK Christian denomination should commission immediate, independent, past case reviews into potential child abuse, the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) has said. The call comes after the Methodist Church unveiled the findings of its own independent report, which revealed historic abuse and issued a full and unreserved apology to the survivors of that abuse.

Simon Bass, chief executive of CCPAS, called the Methodist Church’s report a ‘powerful demonstration of the commitment the Methodist Church has towards ensuring churches are safer places for children, along with recognising the needs of survivors of abuse’. He said that churches and places of worship of every description cannot move forward until they have addressed the issues that have stained their pasts.

‘Now the Methodist Church has undertaken its past case review, as has the Church of England, I now call upon every other Christian denomination and faith body to do the same and have all their safeguarding files independently examined at the earliest possible opportunity’, Mr Bass said. CCPAS has also called for greater accountability of those in positions of trust and power. The Methodist Church’s report, called Courage, cost & hope, made 23 recommendations for improving safeguarding practice in the Methodist Church.

It looked at 1,885 cases, going back to the 1950s, and outlined not only the harm caused to children and adults through abuse and domestic violence, but also the failings stemming from cultures of fear involving bullying and harassment, especially where this was perpetrated by ministers.

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