Thursday, March 10, 2011

Abuse in Wales
Action after Church in Wales child abuse check
The records of serving and former Church in Wales clerics were checked in the 18-month review Continue reading the main story
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Church child abuse probe complete
The Archbishop of Wales says that the religious notion of forgiveness does not mean the church will forget incidents of child abuse and re-employ perpetrators.

Dr Barry Morgan was speaking after a Church in Wales review which checked for allegations of child abuse.

A comprehensive study was carried out of staff records dating back decades.

The children's commissioner for Wales says lessons must be learned.

The employment files of five clerics were investigated by police and social services, but no further action was taken following an investigation.

The archbishop welcomed the report, which made 36 child safety recommendations.


Dr Morgan said he would leave "no stone unturned" to see the church "safe for children" and welcomed one recommendation which called for a debate on the subject of forgiveness.

He told BBC Radio Wales: "If I can compare it to a church treasurer who commits fraud, it may be possible to forgive him as a person but we would not employ him again as a church treasurer.

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"By the same token, it's up to the victim to forgive the perpetrator of violence against a young person, but the church would never employ them again.

"In other words forgiveness doesn't mean let's forget about it, you've repented and you can work with children again - that would never happen."

The Church in Wales said the historic cases review was not prompted by a particular case or incident.

A total of 1,381 files across the six dioceses were opened up and checked for allegations of child abuse as part of the review "to ensure the safety of young people".

The files of every serving and retired cleric in the Church in Wales were scrutinised to "make sure any concerns previously raised have been properly dealt with in the light of current best practice".

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It was imperative that these historic cases were reviewed and that lessons would be learned”
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Keith Towler

Children's Commissioner for Wales
The Church in Wales said the review was a result of its child protection policy which it had been developing since the mid-1990s, and follows the example of the Church of England, which carried out a similar review in 2007.

An independent specialist social worker seconded from the office of the commissioner, Keith Towler, trawled the church's employment files for 18 months to produce the review.

Five of the files were referred to police and social services who, after investigation, decided not to bring any charges or take further action.

Domestic violence

Two of the five were also referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, which helps prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults, which decided not to act in either case.

Mr Towler said: "It was imperative that these historic cases were reviewed and that lessons would be learned.

"I commend the archbishop for accepting all of the review's recommendations and for restating the Bench of Bishops' commitment to safeguarding children and young people within the church community."

The report made 36 recommendations, including further training for clergy on child protection issues, such as heightening their awareness of "grooming" and domestic violence.

Responding to the review, John Cameron, the head of NSPCC Helpline, said: "Whilst this review has now come to an end, it's important to remember that we can all play a valuable part in helping to keep children safe in all communities."

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