General Synod motion to address clergy abuse ruled out of order

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A motion presented by David Lamming and Peter Adams to next week’s meeting of General Synod was ruled “out of order” today, and will not be discussed by the Church of England’s parliament. The text of the motion stated:

GENERAL SYNOD FEBRUARY 2020 GROUP OF SESSIONS WEDNESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2020

AGENDA ITEM 9 Safeguarding: Response to recommendations in IICSA May 2019 Investigation Report (GS 2158)

COMPOSITE DRAFT OF THE MOTION AS IT WOULD BE IF AMENDED BY THE AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY DAVID LAMMING (GS 399) AND PETER ADAMS (GS 392)

That this Synod:

(a) lament the Church of England’s abject failures in dealing with reports of abuse, as revealed during the hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and documented in its interim report, Anglican Church Case Studies: Diocese of Chichester and The response to allegations against Peter Ball (May 2019), and accordingly welcome the terms of the Diocese of Blackburn ‘Ad Clerum’ letter dated 17th June 2019, reflecting on the IICSA report and commend its victim-centred approach to all in authority within the Church as a suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission;

(b) affirm (in the words of the National Director of Safeguarding at para 4.1 of paper GS 2158) that the Church of England “remains committed to ensuring that words of apology are followed by concrete actions to improve how all worshipping communities across the whole Church in its many forms – across its parishes, dioceses, cathedrals, religious communities, national church institutions and other church bodies – respond to concerns and allegations of abuse and to all victims and survivors of abuse and others affected by this, whilst at the same time working to prevent such abuse from occurring in the first place.”

(c) endorse the Archbishops’ Council’s response, set out in paper GS 2158, to the five recommendations made by IICSA at pages 206 to 207 of its said report;

(d) request the Archbishops’ Council, National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG), National Safeguarding Team, and House of Bishops to respond immediately to the recommendations of the final IICSA report on the Anglican Church when it is published, and bring their response to General Synod for debate no later than July 2021; and

(e) request the Archbishops’ Council, NSSG and House of Bishops, working in conjunction with the Church Commissioners, to bring forward proposals for an appropriate and properly resourced compensation and redress scheme, so that words of apology are matched by actions that truly reflect the justice and righteousness of God’s kingdom.