13 March 2020
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) will start its investigation into Child Protection in Religious Organisations and Settings on Monday March 16. The hearing will last for two weeks and the Methodist Church has been asked to take part along with other religious organisations with a significant presence in England and Wales including non-conformist Christian denominations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, representatives of Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was set up by the Government after concerns that some organisations were failing and continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse. As a statutory inquiry, IICSA can compel witnesses to give evidence and ask for any material it feels is necessary to investigate where institutions have let children down in the past. After each hearing, the Inquiry’s panel which is chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE, will make recommendations to help better protect children in the future.
How does the Methodist Church fit in?
IICSA is holding 15 investigations looking at Child Sexual Abuse. The Methodist Church has been asked to take part in a thematic inquiry that will look at current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions that have a significant presence in England and Wales. Two preliminary hearings have already been held in relation to this inquiry setting out what the inquiry will focus on. The transcripts can be found here.
The Methodist Church is a core participant in the Inquiry alongside other core participants including other denominations and survivors who have been abused in a church, religious organisation or setting. The hearing will be held between 16–27 March 2020. Full details of the timetable will be available here.
How has the Methodist Church responded?
The Methodist Church wrote to the Chair of the IICSA panel when the Inquiry was convened to offer its full support and stating its willingness to be part of the process. The Connexional Safeguarding Team has worked to respond quickly and efficiently to IICSA’s request for information and statements.
You can read the opening statement from the Methodist Church here.
What if I want to speak to someone about the Inquiry?
If you have a question about the IICSA process or you have information to support the investigation contact IICSA directly here. If you have a question about safeguarding in the Methodist Church you should contact The Connexional Safeguarding team at Safeguarding@methodistchurch.org.uk or on 020 7467 5189.
If you are concerned that someone is at risk of, or is being abused or is a risk to others you should contact the Connexional team without delay at Safeguarding@methodistchurch.org.uk or on 020 7467 5189, or the local police or social care office in your area.
You can find the MCB’s current Safeguarding Policy, advice and material and a link to the Past Cases Review here