Apology to victims as final report into Chichester Diocese sex abuse published

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THE Archbishop of Canterbury has offered his ‘heartfelt thanks’ to survivors of abuse who shared their experiences for an enquiry.

A final report for the enquiry into the operation of the diocesan child protection policies in the Diocese of Chichester was published on Friday (May 3).

The report was written by Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC who were appointed in 2011 as the former Archbishop of Canterbury’s commissaries to carry out the enquiry.

Responding to the final report, Archbishop Justin said: “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to not only the Commissaries for their care and concern in the course of carrying out this Visitation, but also to the survivors of abuse who have been able to share their experiences.

“The hurt and damage that has been done to them is something the church can never ignore and I can only repeat what I have said before, that they should never have been let down by the people who ought to have been a source of trust and comfort and I want to apologise on behalf of the church for pain and hurt they have suffered.

“I remain deeply grateful for their cooperation in the work of the visitation.

“I would also like to thank Bishop Martin and diocesan staff for their assistance and cooperation with the visitation, and their continuing work with the police and statutory authorities in helping to turn around safeguarding in the diocese.”

In December ,2011, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, appointed Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC to carry out the enquiry.

They were tasked with advising the Archbishop on any steps that need to be taken to ensure the highest possible standards of safeguarding in the dioceses. This involved examining current child protection arrangements as well as making recommendations for the future.

The Commissaries recommendations were published in an interim report in August, 2012, and the full text of that report can be read here.

The final report can be read as a pdf here.

A special helpline for those who suffered abuse has been set up in conjunction with the NSPCC on 0800 389 5344.