Past Cases Review 2

The national Past Cases Review 2 report was published in October 2022. You can read it here.

All the parishes in the Diocese of Exeter took part in the Past Cases Review 2. The review was carried out by an independent reviewer. Read the Executive Summary here.


In May 2007, the Church of England decided on the need for a national review of the recording and the handling of cases where a member of clergy or church officer was subject to allegations, or where circumstances suggested, they posed a risk to children. This became known as the ‘Past Cases Review’ 2007-2009 (PCR) with the objectives of ensuring that:

  • Any current or future risk to children was identified
  • Action was taken to address these concerns- for example, referrals to the statutory authorities where necessary
  • Where cases were identified, support could be provided for the survivors of abuse
  • Lessons from the past could be learned to inform the work of the Church today and in the future

An independent person with recognized professional qualifications and expertise carried out the review in the Diocese of Exeter during 2008. The findings of the review were submitted in early 2009.

In 2015, concerns were expressed to the National Safeguarding Adviser about how well the PCR had been conducted (nationally). Consequently, a nationally appointed Independent Scrutiny Team undertook a review of the adequacy of the PCR as it was delivered in every Diocese.

The Independent Scrutiny Team found that the review undertaken in the Diocese of Exeter in 2008, was effective and delivered within the requisite scope and terms of reference. However, the panel considered that in some dioceses, it was not possible to confirm the adequacy of the PCR process. Moreover, the reviewers considered that there were areas, not covered in the PCR, which needed to be addressed across all dioceses.

Given these findings, the Independent Scrutiny Team recommended that all dioceses carry out further review work that would address issues not considered by the original PCR process. The decision was also made that any further work would, in addition to concerns relating to children, include consideration of vulnerable adults or adults at risk, and domestic abuse. This further review is referred to as the Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2).


The Exeter Diocese Past Cases Review 2 took place during 2020 and 2021. The Independent Reviewer, Mr Paul Northcott, found:

  • The review identified that there is effective strategic governance and oversight of safeguarding.
  • People working in the Diocese are progressive in their thinking towards safeguarding.
  • The current safeguarding team is experienced, highly motivated and led by an experienced Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor*. The team members are highly regarded and pride themselves on their visibility and accessibility.
  • Historically, the quality of initial response, investigation and management of cases has varied considerably both nationally and within the Diocese. In recent years the staffing and experience of the safeguarding team has ensured a consistent and robust approach to managing and investigating safeguarding concerns.
  • Overall, current case recording was considered to be excellent.
  • The safeguarding team has established effective working practices in relation to risk management for current cases.
  • Multi-agency working and partnership relationships were found to be effective and in line with national guidance and legislation.
  • The Diocese has a victims/survivors’ strategy in place. Cases demonstrate that the quality of support provided by the safeguarding team adheres to expected standards.
  • Overall, current practice is robust and the safeguarding team is well-staffed and has good knowledge and experience. There was clear evidence of proactive intervention and investigation with the full support of senior clergy in the Diocese.

“This latest Past Cases Review has been impressively thorough in its scrutiny. The report’s positive assessment of safeguarding in the Diocese of Exeter is reassuring and I welcome its recommendations. Accountability and external auditing are important if we are to enjoy the confidence and trust of the people of Devon.”  The Rt Rev’d Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter


The welfare of children and adults at risk of abuse is of paramount importance to the Diocese of Exeter. We urge anyone wishing to give information or make disclosures of church-related abuse to make direct contact with our Safeguarding Team.

We recognise that those with a lived experience of abuse from within the Church may prefer to seek support or advice independent to the Diocese. A dedicated telephone helpline, operating independently from the Church, has therefore been set up for those affected by issues which may arise as a result of PCR2. The ‘Past Case Review 2 NSPCC Helpline for Children and Adults’ number is 0800 80 20 20.

Additionally, for other ways to access support please go to our Victims and Survivors page for links to a range of specialist independent organisations.