Jersey Church abuse report: Victim against release
26 January 2015
The findings of an inquiry into the handling of an allegation of abuse should not be made public, the victim has said.
In 2008, the woman known as HG, made a formal complaint about abuse by a Jersey church warden.
In an email to the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, HG threatened legal action if the report was released.
It follows calls for the report to be published by leading Anglicans.
In the email, HG said the inquiry was a whitewash, lacked independence and its publication could cause her serious harm.
A spokesman representing the bishop, said: “We don’t yet have a date for publication, as the Steel Report is currently continuing to be reviewed by legal and safeguarding experts.”
The inquiry, led by Dame Heather Steel into the incident, was commissioned alongside a wider review into safeguarding policies being undertaken by Bishop John Gladwin.
The inquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing by Dean Key and recommended no disciplinary action should be taken against any Jersey Anglican clergy member, with the final report kept confidential on legal advice.
The Jersey Deanery synod said the report should be made public in the name of Christian reconciliation, so the episode could be put to rest and the church could move forward.
The saga resulted in the Channel Islands ending their 500-year relationship with Winchester and their moving to the Diocese of Canterbury as part of an interim arrangement.
Timeline of diocese split
- March 2013 – Bob Key, the Anglican Dean of Jersey, has his commission withdrawn by the Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin over concerns about his handling of a parishioner’s complaint about abuse in 2008. It followed the publication of a report by the Diocese of Winchester’s Safeguarding Panel. An inquiry into the handling and another into how Anglican churches in the diocese protect vulnerable people begins
- April 2013 – Dean Key is reinstated after apologising for anything he might have got wrong in the handling of an abuse complaint
- August 2013 – Concerns are raised by Anglican church members in the Channel Islands about their relationship with the Church of England
- November 2013 – Inquiry into the handling of the complaint recommends no disciplinary action should be taken against any Jersey Anglican clergy member and finds no evidence of wrongdoing by Dean Key. The final report is kept confidential on legal advice
- January 2014 – The breaking down of relations between Dean Key and Bishop Dakin leads to the Archbishop of Canterbury temporarily moving oversight of the islands to the Bishop of Dover Trevor Wilmott, based in the Diocese of Canterbury, in a split in the 500-year-old relationship
- March 2014 – Concerns are raised by church goers that money continues to be paid to the Winchester diocese
- July 2014 – The Church of England reveals it has spent £190,000 on handling the split, while a lay member suggests it has cost more than £600,000
- January 2015 – An interim arrangement is confirmed where the Diocese of Winchester will retain oversight of Anglican legal matters in the Channel Islands. However the Canterbury diocese will be responsible for finance, ministry and training and safeguarding