Scripture Union Report on the John Smyth affair released


The Scripture Union England and Wales John Smyth Independent Case Review is now complete. We are extremely grateful to those victims and other parties who have taken the time to be interviewed or contribute information to this process.  

We remain deeply saddened by the accounts of abuse suffered by the victims of the late John Smyth, a trustee of Scripture Union from 1971 – 1979. That such acts were carried out by an individual associated with Scripture Union is a matter of profound and sincere regret for us.  

We are very much aware of the pain caused by these events, and deeply regret the additional hurt and prolonged trauma caused by historic failings in the handling of the allegations and knowledge of the abuse. We recognise that this has extended the suffering of victims and their families and are very sorry for any ways in which SU’s handling of the case contributed to this.  

The review finds that Scripture Union did not operate the Iwerne Camps. However, it does identify some significant failings, most of which relate to activity during the early 1980s, in SU’s handling of the allegations and knowledge of the abuse. While the Review is broadly positive about SU’s actions in more recent years, there are also some specific concerns relating to the handling of information in this period. 

Our safeguarding practices today are significantly improved since the time in which these events took place, and the Report acknowledges this. The Trustees’ intention in commissioning this review was to ensure that lessons are learned from these events and the Reviewer has made recommendations for action. The safeguarding and protection of those in our care continues to remain of the highest priority and the Scripture Union Executive Team will work through these recommendations in detail in order to ensure that best practice is maintained.