Past Cases Review
In 2007, the Church of England commissioned a national Past Case Review (PCR). This review sought to look at how the Church had responded to child protection cases over many years and involved an independent scrutiny of the files of clergy and church officers. The purpose of the review was to identify any persons that posed an on-going risk to children and young people (a child or young person is anyone under the age of 18) which had not been acted on appropriately.
In 2014 the Diocese of Bristol commissioned a further review of deceased clergy files and a review of files to ensure that the actions ideintifed in 2007/08 had been completed.
In 2018 the Church Of England published a report by Sir Roger Singleton, Amanda Lamb and Donald Findlater, Report of the Independent Scrutiny Team into the adequacy of the Past Cases Review which found that whilst well intentioned there were flaws in its execution. Given the findings of the scrutiny team a further Past Cases Review has been recommended, this review is called the Past Cases Review 2.
The House of Bishops wants to ensure that our churches and church-related activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable adults and, in support of this, all dioceses have been asked to conduct a further review, building on what has already been completed. This Review will have an extended scope including all concerns relating to vulnerable adults at risk and children, young people up to the current date.
There are a number of important aspects to this review:
- every parish will receive a letter in January 2020 from the Bishop of Bristol asking incumbents, or in certain circumstances such as in Vacancy or Interregnum churchwardens, to check that all-known concerns or allegations within their parish, both recent and non-recent, have been notified to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA), Adam Bond (or his predecessors).
- scrutiny of clergy and church officer files which had not been reviewed previously and reviewing the handling of cases where clergy or church officers had been the subject of safeguarding concerns or allegations.
- A suitably qualified and accredited Independent Reviewer (IR) will scrutinise relevant files held within the Diocese and Bishops Offices. Should they identify any issues of concern the IR will work closely with the DSA to ensure that appropriate and remedial action is taken in accordance with Safeguarding Procedures.
Support for those affected by abuse
We recognise that those with a lived experience of abuse from within the Church may prefer to seek support or advice independent to the Diocese. A dedicated telephone helpline, operating independently from the Church, has therefore been established for those affected by issues which may arise as a result of PCR2.
The number is 0800 80 20 20 – ‘Past Cases Review 2 NSPCC Helpline for Children and Adults’.
Support and advice for Parishes
We understand that the review may pose questions and challenges for Parishes. If you have a PCR2 query, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team via email: Safeguarding@bristoldiocese.org