In Brief

Church of England vows to change after damning report on abuse

Investigation into alleged attempted rape of a teenage boy makes 'embarrassing reading'

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The Church of England has vowed to change the way it handles sexual abuse allegations after a damning independent review.

Though the findings have not been published in full, the 21-page report by safeguarding expert Ian Elliott has been seen by The Guardian.

What prompted the review?

It was ordered last September, to investigate the alleged attempted rape of a teenage boy by a senior figure within the Church in 1976.

Joe (not his real name) was 16 years old when he says he was sexually assaulted by Reverend Garth Moore, a former chancellor of the dioceses of Southwark, Durham and Gloucester, who died in 1990.

Over the last four decades, Joe reported the abuse to several senior clergymen, including three bishops, but no further action was taken, says The Guardian.

It was only in 2014, when he approached the Church's safeguarding team and the police, that he was taken seriously.

Last year, he received a formal apology from the Church and was awarded £35,000 compensation.

What did the report find?

It concluded that "the pastoral needs of the survivor were set aside to avoid incurring legal liability for financial compensation".

Elliott has called for structural changes to be implemented across the church, saying that: "The existence of policies alone is not enough. What matters are the actions taken to implement."

He said: "Practice of this nature is simply not acceptable."

What changes will be made?

The Church has promised to ensure that members of the clergy will receive training in how to record and respond to allegations of abuse.

"To have no records and to rely entirely on memory is simply not good enough," said Elliott.

What has the response been?

The Bishop of Crediton, the Rev Canon Dame Sarah Mullally, said the report made "embarrassing reading" and she was "horrified to hear and read of the abuse suffered".

The victim has welcomed the findings, telling The Guardian: "What happened to me is not unique. The case might be unique, but the Church's shamefully slow response isn't. It's been a huge struggle.

"Most survivors will probably not receive a personal apology or any real justice. I am one of the lucky few."

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