In 2007, the Church of England commissioned a Past Cases Review which sought to look at the handling of child protection cases by the Church. This involved the independent scrutiny of the files of clergy and church officers to identify any person presenting an ongoing risk to children and young people which had not been acted on appropriately.
Following a 2018 review of the effectiveness of the first Past Cases Review, a second review, known as PCR2, is taking place in every Diocese across the Church of England.
The House of Bishops wishes to ensure that our churches and church-related activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable adults. It is important that all known cases of concern about the behaviour of clergy and church officers towards children and vulnerable adults have been considered and dealt with appropriately.
A primary aim of PCR2 is to ensure that there are no outstanding and unmanaged safeguarding risks to children, young people and vulnerable adults posed by church officers. The review will seek to ensure that the support needs of known survivors of church abuse have been considered and met. Parishes have a key role to play in PCR2.
During 2020, a team of independent reviewers will be considering all cases of concern relating to the behaviour of church officers towards children and vulnerable people known to the Diocese.
Support for survivors of abuse
Survivors were not invited to contribute to the 2007 PCR and the Church has wanted to ensure a different, trauma-informed approach within PCR2. Listening to survivor voices has helped to shape the plans for PCR2.
Individuals who wish to make representations to the PCR2 process or who wish to come forward with information or make disclosures regarding church-related abuse should contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team (contact details below).
However, realising that this may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the Church, a dedicated telephone helpline, operated independently by the NSPCC, has been set up. The helpline number is 0800 80 20 20.
Anyone can use the helpline to provide information or to raise concerns regarding abuse within the Church of England context, whether they are reporting issues relating to children or adults or seeking to blow the whistle on poor safeguarding practice.
We have commissioned thirtyone:eight, an independent Christian safeguarding charity, to deliver an independent confidential helpline to support the PCR2 review process in the Diocese of Southwark. This helpline is operated by a team of safeguarding advisers with professional safeguarding experience, skill and expertise in supporting individuals impacted by abuse.
The safeguarding helpline will offer you an initial opportunity to speak to an adviser. Along with a patient, listening ear, they will also be able to offer advice and signpost callers to appropriate forms of support.
When you contact them, please quote ‘PCR2 Southwark’ as this will help them to identify that your call relates to Southwark’s PCR2 process. The information you share with the helpline will not be shared with others, including the Diocese of Southwark, unless you consent, or action needs to be taken to protect you or others (in adherence to standard safeguarding practice and protocol). The helpline can be contacted on 0303 003 1111 option 2.
Additionally, the Diocese have also commissioned thirtyone:eight to offer its Listening Service provision if a participant should feel that they would benefit from more focused and specialist support. Please register your interest either via the helpline number above or by e-mailing [email protected]
Please note, these services remain separate from the ‘Jonathan Fletcher Helpline’ and Listening service that is currently in place (and remains commissioned by the Diocese of Southwark). Therefore, it is important that you quote the appropriate reference when contacting thirtyone:eight.
More information about PCR2 is available from the Church of England website at: https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/promoting-safer-church/safeguarding-news-statements/past-cases-review-2
Our Diocesan Safeguarding Team can be contacted via 020 7939 9476 or [email protected]