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Church of England faces possible £200million compensation payout to survivors of child sex abuse

Church of England faces possible £200million compensation payout to survivors of child sex abuse
£200million being set aside for 'restoration or redress' to thousands of victims
Bill is more than the annual sum spent running the CofE by its financial arm
It could force sale of some of the Church's £8billion-worth of historic assets

By Steve Doughty
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news
February 10, 2020

The Church of England could be forced to pay £200million to survivors of child sex abuse, its parliament is to be told.

The money is being set aside for 'restoration or redress' to thousands of victims abused by bishops, clergy and lay helpers.

This huge bill is more than the annual sum spent running the C of E by its financial arm, the Church Commissioners.

It could lead to major spending cuts and force the sale of some of the Church's £8billion-worth of historic assets.

In papers for a meeting today of the C of E ruling body, the General Synod, the Rt Rev Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, says the Church is co-operating with the national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

He admits its hearings have 'underlined the Church's poor response to survivors of abuse'.

The inquiry is due to make recommendations this summer and Bishop Hancock says these 'will inform next steps, including budget setting'.

He told the Synod two years ago that in 2016 the number of complaints had reached 3,300, around a fifth of them against clergy, and mainly from people who were abused as children.

The Church has struggled to cope with abuse cases for a decade. Ex-bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys lasting three decades, had been allowed to stay in the Church after a reprimand in 1993.

And a former Archbishop of York, Lord Hope, was investigated by police in 2016 over his cover-up of child abuse by an ex-Dean of Manchester, the Very Rev Robert Waddington.

Most recently, a leading CofE evangelical, the Rev Jonathan Fletcher, was accused of subjecting boys to naked ice baths, beatings and massages.

A £200million compensation bill would be equivalent of paying all 42 of the Church's diocesan bishops, running their houses and palaces, and paying their staff and expenses for a period of four years.

In reply on behalf of CofE bishops, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, said: 'The National Church is looking at this issue and awaits a recommendation from IICSA whose hearings underlined the Church's poor response to survivors of abuse.'

He added that provision for abuse survivors is likely to include financial compensation, which is paid by the paid by the Commissioners when the cost is not covered by insurance, therapeutic support, and counselling.

Bishop Hancock also said in answers to questions reported in the Synod papers that 'the provision of restoration or redress to victims of clerical abuse is complex and forms part of the work of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, whose recommendations we await in the summer of 2020, which will inform next steps, including budget setting.'

He added that the CofE's National Safeguarding Team which handles allegation 'does not collate statistics which record the number of victims or survivors of clerical abuse who are seeking compensation or redress because that information is not available to it.'

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