Just about every parish in the Diocese of Chichester has returned their responses to a national review into the handling of all safeguarding cases across the Church of England.
The almost 100% level of returns has been welcomed today by Colin Perkins, Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, who said that he was “really encouraged by the way in which parishes across East and West Sussex as well as Brighton & Hove had engaged with the review.”
Only a handful of churches, currently without a parish priest and who are reliant on lay volunteers, have yet to make their returns.
Mr Perkins explained: “The recent report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) reminds us that we simply cannot consign safeguarding failures to the past. Victims of abuse continue to live with the trauma of what happened and any case that has not been responded to previously may mean an ongoing risk in the present.”
The aim of the national review is to ensure that all known cases of concern about the behaviour of clergy and church employees towards children and vulnerable adults have been dealt with appropriately and that the needs of survivors have been responded to supportively and adequately.
The Diocese of Chichester has set up an advisory group and four independent reviewers are working to ensure every case has been responded to appropriately. The advisory group includes an adult survivor of abuse whose contribution is vital to the work being undertaken.
Now that the parish returns have been received, they will be carefully assessed along with other checks which the national review demands of each diocese.
Anyone wishing to report any information regarding safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester should contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team at firstname.lastname@example.org