Church of England apologises for ‘shameful’ abuse ahead of report publication

Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell
Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell
7:34am, Tue 06 Oct 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have apologised to survivors of abuse, as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) prepares to publish its overarching investigation report into the Church of England.

In an open letter ahead of the publication on Tuesday, Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell said it would be a “very harrowing time” for those who have suffered at the hands of the Church.

“We are truly sorry for the shameful way the Church has acted and we state our commitment to listen, to learn and to act in response to the report’s findings,” they wrote.

We cannot and will not make excuses and can again offer our sincere and heartfelt apologies

“We cannot and will not make excuses and can again offer our sincere and heartfelt apologies to those who have been abused, and to their families, friends and colleagues.”

The report is expected to be based on a public hearing in July 2019, which examined the response of the Church of England and the Church in Wales to allegations of child sexual abuse, as well as the adequacy of current safeguarding policies and practices.

It will also consider the case of the Diocese of Chichester and the late disgraced bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed in 2015 for sexual offences against 18 young men over three decades.

Peter Ball case - (Copyright PA Archive)

The archbishops wrote: “The report will identify failings that we are already working to change, and failings that we will need to work harder to change.

“There will no doubt be strong recommendations and we welcome that. We make an absolute commitment to taking action to make the Church a safe place for everyone, as well as to respond to the needs of survivors for support and redress.”

The inquiry has investigated the actions of celebrities, politicians, police, religious groups and schools, among others.

Sign up to our newsletter