The below is a link to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report, that was published today relating to “Child protection in religious organisations and settings “ the Methodist Church took part in the inquiry and features in the report.
Below is a press statement in response to the report, from the Secretary of the Conference, Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler.
In summary the report says the following about the Methodist Church –
The pen portrait of the case of PR-A10 is the only directly critical information about the Methodist Church in the report (Page XII).
The description of her case in the Executive Summary (Page V) does not name the Methodist Church as the relevant organisation, but the introduction to her case (and two other cases states): “As set out in the report, we have seen egregious failings by a number of religious organisations, and cases of child sexual abuse perpetrated by their adherents. For example: … PR-A10…”
There is also a reference to the finding in the PCR about ministers finding it difficult to recognise and accept that abuse had taken place when the perpetrator was a colleague (Page 28). (The suggested amendments we made to the Inquiry about this comment have not been included, but this is understandable given the context in which this finding is included, i.e. providing evidence that the power held by religious leaders can be a barrier to disclosure).
There are a number of positive conclusions regarding the Methodist Church, including:
The Methodist Church is included as an example of an organisation with appropriate safer recruitment procedures (Page 52)
“There were some organisations with more comprehensive safer recruitment arrangements in place. For example, the Methodis1t Church in Britain…”
The Methodist Church is included as a “rare” example of an organisation with positive internal quality assurance processes (in relation to the PCR). The examples given are referred to as religious organisations “taking a lead in this respect” (Page 99)
“These reviews recognise the needs for effective safeguarding oversight by the bodies themselves and also that past safeguarding problems or failures need to be addressed and dealt with”
The Director of Safeguarding is named in this paragraph
The table at Page 161 sets out the processes in place within the Methodist Church and states that it meets each of the measured categories (Child protection policies, external audit processes, training and DBS checks)
Page 104 refers to the Methodist Church as an organisation where membership of an affiliate body can bring benefits, this appears to be a slightly inaccurate description of the structure of the Methodist Church
No conclusions were reached regarding broader issues such as mandatory reporting or systems for regulating/overseeing religious organisations. This has been left to the final report of IICSA.
Detailed information from the statements regarding the Methodist Church’s views on DBS checks and systems of oversight are set out in the table at Page 195.