Past Case Review Two – PCR2

A Safeguarding message to survivors of church abuse from Paul Williams, The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham

As the Church of England’s Bishop for the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham I am pleased that, like all the dioceses across the Church of England, we are currently undertaking a second Past Case Review – also known as PCR2.

PCR2 is a vital part of the Church of England’s commitment to improve our treatment and care of all survivors of abuse. We are deeply saddened by all instances of historic abuse and the profound damage inflicted on people’s lives by those who have failed to safeguard or those in positions of authority and responsibility who have abused the trust placed in them.

As part of PCR2, we want to hear from anyone who has experienced abuse within a church context so we can help signpost you to appropriate support and learn from what you tell us, because in the future we want our response to be led and shaped by the experience of survivors.

We understand that coming forward might be hard; even if hearing this notice causes you concern, please know that there are people ready to listen and support you.  Please be assured that survivor identity will not be shared and that two experienced safeguarding professionals have been appointed who are totally independent from the diocese. These safeguarding reviewers will receive your testimonies or meet you to hear you story.

The Past Case Review is an extensive piece of work, overall taking two and a half years to complete. The information we gather will form part of an important wider national report that will share key themes and learnings and will be published in 2022.

I would therefore encourage anyone who has experienced harm within the church, whether you have shared the information before or have never shared it with anyone else, to make contact. If you would like to feed directly into the PCR2 process through the Independent Reviewers, please do so by the 3rd of September 2021. The Diocesan Safeguarding Team will be available for anyone who wishes to come forward after that date.

Thank you for giving this your time and thought so that your voice can be heard; there is much we need to do to get this right but, with your help and insights, we will make the church a safer place for all.


What should I do if I want to raise a concern?

Anybody who would like to give information, or make disclosures about church-related abuse is asked to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team confidentially by calling 01636817200 or emailing safeguarding@southwell.anglican.org

Alternatively, you can email the Independent Reviewers directly at:
pcr2admin@southwell.anglican.org

You can also visit the Safe Spaces website for independent support.


A message from our Independent Reviewers

We want to introduce ourselves as Independent Reviewers for PCR2 for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham.

We are Elisha and Paul.

We want to assure you that we are independent from the Church of England.
We both have no connection to any church and by this we mean neither of us have ever held any role within a church, and we also do not attend church. However, we would like to reassure you that we do have an understanding of the Church of England as an organisation. 

Most importantly we recognise any church should be a safe place for everybody. 

We come to these roles with diverse but very relevant work experiences. We hold professional qualifications within social care and health, and are both members of regulatory bodies. We both have extensive experience of undertaking independent reviews which have included meeting with, and listening to, the survivors of all aspects of abuse. 

For us as reviewers, the most important aspect of our Independent Reviewer role is to hear first hand from survivors, including what their experiences were, what the church’s responses were, and what survivors would have wanted the response to have been. 

We want to hear from any one who has experienced any form of abuse within a church context. We promise we will listen, accept and take seriously what you tell us to promote learning and change.

At the end of the PCR2 process we will write a report of our findings that will feed into the national church review. We want to assure you that the voice of the survivor will be our focus throughout. 

We realise how hard this may be for you but you can contact us via email, phone, written statements or we can meet with you in person or remotely. However you chose to engage with us, you can have someone with you for support if you wish; you can be supported. The church are showing they are willing to learn from past mistakes and consider what they can do differently in the future.

Please do contact us to help us to help them understand what this should look like and make PCR2 as meaningful as possible.


More about PCR2

PCR2 is a key step to making our Churches a safer place for all and is a large-scale independent review of the handling by the Church of England’s safeguarding cases over many years. It will involve a scrutiny of clergy and church officers’ files to identify persons presenting on-going risks to children, adults at risk of harm and domestic abuse. It will also seek to identify those cases which have not been acted upon appropriately. It follows PCR1 which took place in 2007, this further review includes files held at a parish level and there is a key focus on engaging survivors of any Church based abuse in the process.

The review approved by the House of Bishops will be carried out across all 42 dioceses and includes all Cathedrals, Anglican Religious Communities and Theological Institutions.


Actions we are taking in our diocese

Firstly, we have asked all parishes across the diocese to check their records to ensure that all safeguarding concerns have been reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team. Clergy are in the process of reviewing the information held within their parish to identify any concerns relating to safeguarding issues in connection to church officers.

This review work is underway and will include consulting the worshipping community’s memory to ensure that nothing has been omitted, and that anyone affected by church based abuse is able to access support. Clergy will make declarations to confirm this has been done.

A PCR2 Reference Group has been convened with representatives from Survivor Support, and external partner agencies to ensure the review is carried out properly. Our Independent Reviewers are in the process of auditing the files and making recommendations for further action where needed.

The reviewers objectives are:
  • To ensure all known safeguarding cases have been appropriately identified and managed
  • The needs of known survivors have been considered and supported
  • All identified risks have been assessed and mitigated as far as is reasonably possible.

Support for Survivors

The key focus of PCR2 is to listen to survivors who are willing to come forward. In 2007 the Church was criticised for not including their voices in the original PCR in so it’s paramount for us to get this right. Consultation with, and advice from survivors of abuse within the church, alongside advice from trauma-informed professionals, is central to our PCR2 process.

We are working in partnership with survivor organisations to offer anyone who is currently, or has previously experienced any church related abuse, support. We continue to develop our survivor strategy which will be added to and strengthened throughout this process in order to learn from our past experiences, and be able to offer those coming forward comprehensive support going forward.

We are able to support survivors who wish to meet with the Independent Reviewers, or to submit written or oral testimony if they prefer.

Listening to their experiences and suggestions helps us to protect children and adults from abuse, both now and in the future.


A message from a local survivor

Bethan, whose name has been changed, and who has already engaged in our PCR2 process, has asked to share her message:

“I whole-heartedly recommend other survivors of abuse within the church come forward to speak about their experiences.”

 

It may be helpful to read her survivor testimony about how disclosing helped her and us – Testimony from Bethan


When is the review happening?

The Church of England launched PCR2 in August 2019. In February 2020 the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham launched their PCR2 process. Reviewers began in February 2021 following the unavoidable delay created by the Covid-19 restrictions.

Their review is due to be completed by early Autumn 2021 and a report will be provided to the National Safeguarding Team by December 2021. An Executive Summary of the findings here in the diocese will be published alongside a National Overview Report in Summer 2022.


Are there other ways I can make contact?

For anyone who would rather not contact the diocese directly there are a number of ways to do this:

  1. An independent helpline has been opened for survivors of church-related abuse in the UK. Anyone can use the helpline to provide information or to raise concerns regarding abuse within a Church of England context by calling 0800 802020.
  2. The Church of England help for survivors which can be accessed here.
  3. The Truth Project offers victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the chance to share their experiences and be heard with respect. It was part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse set up because of serious concerns that some organisations have failed to protect children from sexual abuse. Over 4,000 people have already come forward to the Truth Project. You find access The Truth Project here.

More information about PCR2
Visit the Church of England website.
Background and Overview of PCR2
Protocols and Guidance
Guidance Appendices