A statement from Justin Humphreys, Chief Executive (Safeguarding) concerning his withdrawal as a speaker at the ReNew Conference 2020
"I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from speaking at the ReNew Conference 2020 and in the interests of being fully open and transparent about my reasons for making this decision, I have made the following statement which has been communicated to the organisers of the conference.
My reasons for withdrawing are focused on three main areas of concern:
- Given that the conference is now to be held online rather than a physical gathering, my belief is that this no longer presents the best or most appropriate platform from which to address what is a complex topic at a challenging time for the constituency gathered.
- I am concerned not to create any false or unrealistic expectation surrounding my ability to address issues, which may be specifically within the focus of the ongoing Lessons Learned Review commissioned by Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon. As this review is now not due to report until after the conference, I believe that any reference to the detail of this work would be inappropriate and unfair to those that have been involved.
- Most importantly, I have been in discussion with a range of individuals, most of whom are victims/survivors of abuse within the wider Church context or their advocates. In listening to the views shared, it has become clear that to proceed with speaking at the ReNew Conference at this time would cause significant distress and anxiety to them.
Whilst I recognise that the message of creating safer places is perhaps more important now than ever, the opportunities to communicate this must be balanced with the need to be sensitive and maintain focus on those who have already experienced pain, harm and abuse. The voices of victims and survivors will often bring sharp perspective and focus to such situations and it is right that these are heard and that actions are considered as a consequence.
I apologise for any distress that I may have already caused to any victim or survivor.
I also apologise for any inconvenience or frustration that this may cause the organisers and delegates of the conference and pray that they will nevertheless have a productive and valuable time together.”
Chief Executive (Safeguarding)