Here are our top safeguarding stories from May 2019. To access or view the full articles click on the link embedded in the title:
The government has opened a new consultation Children not in School regarding the regulation of education groups outside of a school setting. This has concerned some Christian groups as they believe the plans bear a “striking resemblance” to previously rejected plans to regulate activities like Sunday school. Justin Humphreys spoke to Youth and Children’s Work magazine concerning the debate.
The shame and guilt felt by people who were sexually abused within religious institutions were among the main reasons preventing these survivors’ reporting the abuse at the time, a survey from the IICSA has found. The survey was conducted from June 2016 to November 2018 as part of the IICSA Truth Project, which is encouraging survivors of child sexual abuse to report their experiences and make recommendations for change within the relevant institutions.
A storyline on Emmerdale around male sexual grooming has concluded with the arrest of teacher Maya Stepney (played by Louisa Clein), who had been grooming teenager Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant). In Emmerdale, Maya and Jacob had been in a sexual relationship - which is illegal because she is in a position of trust as his teacher. A poll by Barnardo’s found nearly one in five people failed to realise this was a crime.
Pope Francis issued the first law obligating officials in the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to report cases of clergy sexual abuse — and attempts to cover it up — to their superiors. Before this law, responses to accusations of sexual abuse differed from country to country. In some countries where church officials have denied the existence of abuse, there have often been no procedures at all. The new law does not universally require church officials to report abuse accusations to the police, a decision criticised by abuse survivors.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has announced plans to turn its attention on to non-conformists, including Methodist churches, Baptists, Pentecostals, house churches and other non-denominations. This comes after it published a 252-page report summarising evidence given during two public hearings in 2018 into the Church of England which conclude it had repeatedly failed to respond to allegations of child sex abuse made against clerics and church people. The new strand of investigation will look into the child protection practices at Sunday schools, youth groups and camps. Up to this point, the IICSA’s examinations into religious settings and organisations has only looked into the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. Justin spoke to Premier about the news.
The Jesus Fellowship Church (JFC), formerly known as the Jesus Army, announced that its members had voted to revoke the Church’s constitution. This means the church will cease to exist and the current leadership will be stepping down from their roles. Thirtyone:eight has been working with Jesus Fellowship for some time following a series of non-recent cases of sexual abuse. Justin Humphreys, CEO at Thirtyone:eight, spoke to Premier about the developments.
A group of Christian charities who provide care to the elderly have said their need is not being matched by government provision. Data shows a drop of £700 million in local authority spending over the past nine years. Carl Knightly from Faith in Later Life said: "Community engagement is really important and churches are ideally placed and have a biblical mandate to serve and honour our older folk.”
Thirtyone:eight recently partnered with Youthscape to produce a creative resource that is designed to be fun and interesting while also helping churches and organisations think seriously about their approach to safeguarding. Christian Today reviewed the game which can be purchased here.