Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:42 pm on 20th December 2018.

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Photo of The Bishop of Chichester The Bishop of Chichester Bishop 3:42 pm, 20th December 2018

I was not present for the oral statements given by survivors, but survivors were also able to do that and were called to give evidence as well.

In Chichester, our safeguarding practice benefits significantly from the full engagement at a senior level by the police, the probation service and adult and children’s social services through our diocesan safe- guarding advisory panel. Similar involvement from the statutory agencies is ensured nationally by the work of the Church’s national safeguarding panel, with its newly appointed independent chair, Meg Munn. The inquiry itself must, of course, also be open and accountable—above all to survivors of child sexual abuse and those representing them. Everyone recognises the considerable challenges posed by the scale of the inquiry, which is surely a reflection of the pervasiveness of our failures, as a society and as institutions, to safeguard the most vulnerable. My own experience is that the inquiry is meeting those challenges through an approach that is thorough and well and clearly focused.

The inquiry’s case study into the diocese of Chichester is yet to report. We are ready to listen carefully to its recommendations, particularly to anything more that might be done better to protect children and vulnerable people from the risk of abuse. Whatever its recommendations, it is my hope that the inquiry will ensure that institutions are and continue to be held to account for their failings, and that it will do all this in a way that sustains the support and confidence of those survivors whose lives have been so gravely and shamefully affected by our failings to protect them in the past.