BBC News - Wales March 9, 2011
Action after Church in Wales child abuse check
The Archbishop of Wales says that the religious notion of forgiveness does not mean the church will forget incidents of child abuse and re-employ perpetrators.
Dr Barry Morgan was speaking after a Church in Wales review which checked for allegations of child abuse.
A comprehensive study was carried out of staff records dating back decades.
The children's commissioner for Wales says lessons must be learned.
The employment files of five clerics were investigated by police and social services, but no further action was taken following an investigation.
The archbishop welcomed the report, which made 36 child safety recommendations.'Forgiveness'
Dr Morgan said he would leave "no stone unturned" to see the church "safe for children" and welcomed one recommendation which called for a debate on the subject of forgiveness.
He told BBC Radio Wales: "If I can compare it to a church treasurer who commits fraud, it may be possible to forgive him as a person but we would not employ him again as a church treasurer.
"By the same token, it's up to the victim to forgive the perpetrator of violence against a young person, but the church would never employ them again.
"In other words forgiveness doesn't mean let's forget about it, you've repented and you can work with children again - that would never happen."
The Church in Wales said the historic cases review was not prompted by a particular case or incident.
A total of 1,381 files across the six dioceses were opened up and checked for allegations of child abuse as part of the review "to ensure the safety of young people".
The files of every serving and retired cleric in the Church in Wales were scrutinised to "make sure any concerns previously raised have been properly dealt with in the light of current best practice".
The Church in Wales said the review was a result of its child protection policy which it had been developing since the mid-1990s, and follows the example of the Church of England, which carried out a similar review in 2007. [see article below]
An independent specialist social worker seconded from the office of the commissioner, Keith Towler, trawled the church's employment files for 18 months to produce the review.
Five of the files were referred to police and social services who, after investigation, decided not to bring any charges or take further action.
Two of the five were also referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority, which helps prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults, which decided not to act in either case.
Mr Towler said: "It was imperative that these historic cases were reviewed and that lessons would be learned.
"I commend the archbishop for accepting all of the review's recommendations and for restating the Bench of Bishops' commitment to safeguarding children and young people within the church community."
The report made 36 recommendations, including further training for clergy on child protection issues, such as heightening their awareness of "grooming" and domestic violence.
Responding to the review, John Cameron, the head of NSPCC Helpline, said: "Whilst this review has now come to an end, it's important to remember that we can all play a valuable part in helping to keep children safe in all communities."
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BBC News - UK February 24, 2011
Church child abuse review completed
Thirteen cases which needed formal action have been identified following a Church of England review into child abuse in the church.
About 40,000 diocesan files dating back more than 30 years were examined during the investigation.
The review was launched in 2007 following claims the church had covered up abuse dating back decades.
Six of the cases were referred to police, who said they were unable to take any further action.
As a result of the review of 40,747 files, 11 cases were referred to the authorities. Eight involved a member of the clergy and three involved a non-ordained person holding some form of church office.
Five of the cases had originally been investigated by police and some had resulted in convictions, the church said.
Action by the statutory authorities was not possible in two further cases, relating to members of clergy, but they were deemed by the reviewers to warrant formal disciplinary actions by the church.
The individuals involved in those cases will be referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority for consideration for inclusion on their barred list.
The other six cases were referred to the police for investigation but they said they were unable to take further action.
In three of these cases, a risk management strategy has been put in place by the diocese's multi-agency child protection management group. There are no cases where a police investigation is still ongoing.
The review involved the examination of personnel files held on diocesan staff, clergy, and lay ministers.
Some 900 letters were sent to bishops, senior clergy and diocesan staff asking for further information.
Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, Bishop of Hereford and chair of the church's central safeguarding liaison group, said: "While no such review can be perfect, and we can never let our vigilance slip in this vital area of concern, we have done all we can to ensure that it has been as comprehensive as possible.
"It indicates there are no outstanding issues of which the church has previously been made aware relating to any clergy or other office holders' suitability to work with children that have not now been investigated by the police or other relevant professional authority."
He added there was no room for complacency and the church remained committed continually to developing procedures for safeguarding vulnerable people.
In 2007, three people were jailed for abuse dating back decades. In each instance, the church had been alerted but failed to take action.
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