In separate open letters, the Deans of Jersey and Guernsey have encouraged anyone with information relating to abuse within the Church to report incidents as part of a review which began in December last year.
The Deans’ letters follow the case of the Rev John Moore, a Guernsey vicar, who was convicted of a serious sexual assault on an 18-year-old man (See page 10 of today’s JEP).
He was suspended by the Bishop, resigned and subsequently left the Island.
In his letter Jersey’s Dean, the Very Rev Mike Keirle, extends his sympathies ‘to all those affected by these terrible events’, sentiments which are echoed in a similar letter issued by his Guernsey counterpart, the Very Rev Tim Barker.
‘I want to take this opportunity to reiterate to you how seriously the Church of England takes safeguarding and I want to ensure that our churches across our deanery and any activities undertaken within them are as safe as possible and that we protect and care for those who are vulnerable,’ Mr Keirle writes.
The Church of England undertook a previous review between 2007 and 2009 of its handling of child-protection cases but it has now launched an independent review with a wider remit examining ‘all safeguarding case papers (both those involving children and vulnerable adults) and will ensure that the voices of survivors are heard’.
As part of the review, the Diocese of Salisbury has appointed a former senior police officer, Tracy Hawkings, to review Channel Islands past cases.
It has also established a group to provide oversight of this work, including the Island Deans and a variety of representatives from organisations outside of the Church – both from the Channel Islands and beyond.
It includes a representative from a survivors’ organisation to represent the interests of survivors and victims.
Mr Keirle states that the aim of the review is to ensure that all safeguarding cases across the Channel Islands have been appropriately managed and reported to statutory agencies or the police; that the needs of victims have been considered and support identified and offered where appropriate; and that all risks have been assessed and mitigated as far as is reasonably possible.
‘I would encourage anyone with any information regarding church-related abuse to be part of this process,’ he said.
‘No matter when an incident took place or whether it has been previously reported, you can make direct contact with the Diocesan safeguarding advisor, Jem Carter, by emailing: Jem.firstname.lastname@example.org.’