A report to be published this month claims the Church of England “botched” its investigations into alleged cases of abuse.

Sir Roger Singleton, chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, said the church’s 2010 investigations “failed to give a complete picture” of the abuse. He said that in mitigation he found “no evidence of a planned, deliberate attempt to mislead.”

The Church of England has outlined four steps for improvement, including creation of an independent panel featuring survivors that will explore how to address past cases. There will be an independent ombudsman who will assess handling of complaints and what needs to be done to improve processes for clergy recruitment. In addition, it will work more closely with the Roman Catholic Church on support for survivors.

Singleton, who was asked by the church to evaluate the church’s Past Cases Review of 2010, told BBC Radio that the church’s investigators had “narrowed down” definitions of abuse by limiting it to “new cases and cases where the Church took formal action.”

They survey “wasn’t completely comprehensive” and overlooked several cathedrals and some parishes. Dead and retired clergy were omitted. Singleton’s investigations looked at more than 40,000 files.

Narrowing the scope of the earlier review left 13 cases that required action. He said it was extraordinary that so few victims had received help and counsel.

Archbishop Justin Welby called the church’s failures “deeply shaming” and said care for abuse survivors was “wholly inadequate.”

John Martin

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