British news organizations are reporting that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has told a government panel “I am convinced we need to move to mandatory reporting for regulated activities.” This would affect clergy, church youth group leaders, and secular professions like teaching, healthcare and sporting activities.
The Guardian reports that Welby said he feels “shame and horror that we have done this to people”. He added: “I hope God will forgive us.” He acknowledged that he personally had made a “serious mistake” in responding to an accusation of sexual misconduct against a staff member when he was Dean of Liverpool Cathedral in 2011.
The Independent reported that Welby was asked if he had given bishops accused of abuse “an easy ride.”
The archbishop responded: “I think suspending a bishop is not giving a bishop an easy ride. It is not an easy ride, however much you say it is a neutral act. It is immensely public and immensely humiliating and hard.
Welby’s dramatic testimony came during a hearing before the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, an investigation begun with government funding in 2015.