(The Guardian) Senior Church of England clergy must undergo systematic retraining to deal properly with disclosures of sexual abuse amid continuing concern that survivors are being ignored, sidelined or intimidated, bishops are to be told next week.
An action plan drawn up by Sarah Mullally, the bishop of Crediton, is also expected to propose that local autonomy on safeguarding issues be reduced in favour of a consistent response which meets nationally determined standards.
Mullallyâ€™s report will be presented to the House of Bishops, which will hold a private meeting in York next week. Two months ago, she was tasked by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, with drawing up a plan to implement recommendations of an independent inquiry into the way the church handled the case of â€œJoeâ€. Over four decades, senior church figures failed to act on Joeâ€™s repeated disclosures of his abuse.
Survivors who have been consulted by Mullally and her team have expressed confidence in the bishopâ€™s determination to improve the churchâ€™s response to abuse disclosures.
But they have also voiced fears that the House of Bishops might be reluctant to acknowledge the extent of the failures and accept the need for radical action. [More]