Stop Church Child Abuse! – Press Conference
Further to Jonathan Wheeler’s post on this subject on 27 January 2012 (//www.boltburdonkemp.co.uk/sitecore/content/BBK/Global/Blogs/Stop%20Church%20Child%20Abuse.aspx) the Stop Church Child Abuse campaign held a press conference on 19 April 2012, to raise further public awareness for the need for a public inquiry into abuse of children and vulnerable adults by Clergy in England and Wales. David McClenaghan, Rebecca Sheriff and I attended the press conference to offer our support for the campaign and to hear about the findings of their research. Abuse survivors, founders of charities which support survivors (MACSAS, NAPAC, Survivors Voice Europe and Lantern Project) and specialist lawyers urged for the need to get behind the campaign, pointing out that until there is external pressure there will be no internal momentum within the churches to deal with this issue. The churches have defended their position by saying that the majority of abuse allegations are historical and have been dealt with but numerous recent convictions show that this is clearly not the case.
Two outcomes are sought from the inquiry; firstly, mandatory reporting by church and religious leaders of all allegations of child abuse and secondly, the setting up of an independent statutory body to monitor and review safeguarding procedures within the Roman Catholic Church and its religious institutions and the Church of England and Wales. Sue Cox, from Survivors Voice Europe, highlighted the inquiries commissioned by governments into church child abuse in other jurisdictions (most notably The Republic of Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada and the US) and spoke most passionately about the duty of our government to protect its citizens by doing the same. It was made clear that the church cannot be trusted to investigate itself and a fully independent public inquiry is needed to ensure honesty and transparency.