In 2019, the Church of England instigated a second review of all known safeguarding cases.
This followed the first review in 2007-2009. The former was a large-scale review of the handling by the Church of child protection cases over many years. This second review included both child and adult cases.
The objective of PCR2 and aspiration of the Archbishops’ Council is that: “By the end of the process, independent review work will have been carried out in every diocese and church institution within both the letter and the spirit of the protocol and practice guidance. Any file that could contain information regarding a concern, allegation or conviction in relation to abusive behaviour by a living member of the clergy or church officer, (whether still in that position or not) will have been identified, read and analysed by independent safeguarding professionals”.
The review of files in the Diocese of Leeds was completed successfully at the end of November 2021. The Independent Reviewers commented:
All files presented to the Independent Reviewers within the Diocese, including those from three cathedrals, two training institutions and two religious’ communities, of living clergy or former clergy and church officers or former church officers, were inspected. All identified risks were assessed, and any existing concerns were discussed with the Project Leads and Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors as appropriate.
The main findings of this review relate to systems and processes, and particularly around historical concerns, and it is apparent that current systems have improved. Only a small number of cases identified concerns, which indicated that risk was and is managed appropriately. Support for survivors was evident and there was evidence of effective working and involvement of statutory agencies. As a result, it is possible to state that the specific objectives of PCR2 have been met.
The Church of England intends to produce a national report, in February of next year, which will consider the findings of PCR2 relating to every diocese.
While the review has concluded, we are aware that those who have suffered abuse may still wish to report it, and we ask that any individuals who wish to come forward with information or make any disclosures regarding church related abuse are encouraged to make direct contact with the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors.
Team email: safeguarding [at] leeds.anglican.org
Office number: 0113 353 0257