Past Case Review 2

In 2007 the Church of England commissioned a Past Case Review, which sought to look at the handling by the Church of child protection cases over many years. This entailed an independent scrutiny of the files of clergy and church officers to identify any persons presenting on-going risks to children and young people (a child or young person is anyone under the age of 18) which had not been acted on appropriately.

The review conducted by the Diocese of Exeter was subject to scrutiny and found to have been properly and thoroughly carried out, however it was found that this was not the case in every diocese. Given the learning from this and other national reviews, the House of Bishops wants to ensure that our churches and church-related activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable adults and, in support of this, all dioceses have been asked to conduct a further review, building on the previous but extending the scope to include children, young people and vulnerable adults up to the current date. This process is called Past Case Review 2 (PCR2).

The first completed element of the PCR2 process was to contact every parish, to check that all-known instances within their parish, both recent and non-recent, have been notified to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA), Charles Pitman.  Similar enquiries are now underway with bodies like theological education institutions, religious communities, and chaplaincies in this Diocese.

The PCR2 process will also include the scrutiny of clergy and church officer files which had not been reviewed previously and to review the handling of cases where clergy or church officers had been the subject of safeguarding concerns.

The Diocese of Exeter has appointed a suitably qualified and accredited Independent Reviewer (IR) who will scrutinise relevant files held within the Diocese. Should their review identify any issues of concern the IR will work closely with the DSA to ensure that appropriate and remedial action is taken in accordance with Safeguarding Procedures.

The welfare of children and adults at risk of abuse is of paramount importance in the execution of our PCR2. We urge anyone wishing to give information or make disclosures of church-related abuse to make direct contact with our Safeguarding Team. Alternatively, the Bishop of Exeter very much welcomes and encourages anyone to contact our Independent Reviewer, Paul Northcott, should they wish to raise concerns or share information about any aspect of safeguarding in the Diocese of Exeter, past or present. Paul can be contacted by email.

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.

We understand that the review may pose questions and challenges for parishes. If you have a PCR2 query, in the first instance please refer to the Past Case Review 2 – Frequently Asked Questions document. If you are unable to find the answer to your query please don’t hesitate to contact the Safeguarding Team preferably by email or by phoning 01392 294975.

We will continue to update this webpage as PCR2 progresses and the outcomes will be published in due course.