A survivor who goes by the name of Gilo, has called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to implement mandatory reporting of abuse after the Archbishop failed to take a clear stand on the policy.
Gilo is part of a group of survivors who are campaigning for a review into compensation awards, and for mandatory reporting of child abuse allegations.
Gilo was sexually assaulted by the Reverend Garth Moore, a former diocesan chancellor, who died in 1990. After a long battle trying to raise awareness about his ordeal, the Church of England finally settled his claim for £35,000. The case spurred on the Elliott review, which set out important reforms to safeguarding procedures.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also issued a public apology to Gilo, after ignoring 17 letters Gilo wrote to him. In his reply to Gilo, Welby suggests that mandatory reporting is a “complex issue”. He also confirms that the task of looking at mandatory reporting has been given to the Bishop at Lambeth, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton.
At the moment clerics are required to report safeguarding concerns and could be subject to disciplinary proceedings if they do not, however there is no legal requirement in Egland to report such information. Welby tells Gilo in his letter:
“As you know, we are now in the middle of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse and I am keen to hear its views and wisdom on the subject of mandatory reporting — which is not as straightforward an issue as is sometimes suggested.”
Gilo’s criticism of the Archbishop stems from his view that mandatory reporting is a complicated matter, at a time when bodies of research are emerging which suggest that mandatory reporting is not, and is overall hugely successful in the prevention and detection of child abuse. Gilo has also gathered several high profile supporters for his campaign to implement mandatory reporting including Baroness Walmsley, a passionate advocate of child welfare reform and Dr Julie Macfarlane, a law professor in Canada and herself a survivor of abuse.
Baroness Walmsley’s response to the Archbishop’s letter included the following thoughts:
That mandatory reporting is a “very simple matter”, not a complex one and that “if you know or suspect that a child is being abused, or has been abused, you must report the matter to the correct authorities. To fail to do so is to collude with the perpetrator.”