Past Cases Review 2
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In 2007, the Church of England commissioned a Past Case Review which sought to look at the handling by the church of child protection cases over many years.

All dioceses have now been asked to re-examine and extend the review (PCR2).  The House of Bishops wants to ensure that our churches and church related activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable adults.

Across the country, clergy and PSOs are being asked to check their records for all known incidents of concern about the behaviour of church officers within their parishes (both non-recent and current).

The following information was sent to incumbents and priests-in-charge in the Diocese of Coventry on 5 November 2019:

In his letter, Bishop Christopher said:

"It is important that we are made aware of any concerns related to church officers and to this end I would ask that you inform your congregations about the content of this email and that you display a copy of this e-mail and the attached leaflet on your noticeboards, in your parish newsletter and on your website."

The same information was subsequently sent to churchwardens of parishes in vacancy and parishes where the incumbent is currently unavailable (e.g. on sabbatical).  A copy has also been sent to all Parish Safeguarding Officers.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs are based on questions of clarification that have been asked by parishes.

 

How will submitted information be used?

Parishes are being asked to submit a list of ALL safeguarding concerns related to living church officers; these will then be cross-checked against diocesan records.  Where a diocesan record is found, no further action will be needed (unless otherwise indicated on the form).

If no diocesan record is found, the concern will be treated as a new safeguarding disclosure and the latest safeguarding procedures will be followed. 

 

How far back do we need to check?

The national guidance says:

"The files subject to review are those of every living clergy person and all living church officers whether or not they are engaged in ministry or in paid or voluntary work at the time of the review."

 

How do you define a church officer?

The national guidance says:

"A church officer is anyone appointed/elected by or on behalf of the Church to an office, post or role, whether they be ordained or lay, paid or unpaid."

The Church’s definition is open to some interpretation, but for the purposes of PCR2, it will certainly encompass all clergy, including those with PTO and clergy such as hospital, school and prison chaplains who hold the Bishop’s licence, readers and licensed lay workers and volunteers and diocesan and parish lay employees and volunteers whose role includes (or has included) direct involvement with children and vulnerable adults.  This is a wide definition, however the judgement to be made is whether the role has in the past, does currently, or is likely in the future, to provide opportunities for the abuse or neglect of children or vulnerable adults whilst engaged in church organised activities and whether the role involves a relationship of trust.

 

How do you define a vulnerable adult?

The national guidance says:

”A vulnerable adult means a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse, neglect  or exploitation is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability or illness, old age, emotional fragility or distress, or otherwise; and for that purpose, the reference to being impaired is to being temporarily or indefinitely impaired.”

It is acknowledged that this is a broad definition and that discretion will need to be exercised in some cases having regard to the person’s entitlement to exercise choice and their mental capacity.   Instances of alleged domestic violence should be included as indicating vulnerability and therefore, all allegations in relation to domestic abuse should be included in PCR2’s scope.

 

How can information be submitted more securely?

For many parishes, Table 1A will not contain any confidential information.

If Table 1A does contains confidential information, we recommend that it is password-protected prior to it being sent to safeguarding@covcofe.org

Any password should not be included in the email; rather, please tell the Diocesan Safeguarding Team by ringing 024 7652 1345 during office hours.

If you don't know how to password-protect a Word document, simply ring the above number and ask the Safeguarding Team.

 

Can we have more time?

Incumbents and priests-in-charge were asked to submit their parish forms by 30 November.  If you need more time, that's fine; simply request an extension by sending an email to safeguarding@covcofe.org 

Parishes in vacancy were asked to submit their parish forms by a later date, but they too can request a further extension if required. 

 

How do I ask a further question?

All other questions should be sent to safeguarding@covcofe.org