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Diocese of York abuse inquiry opens clergy files

image captionDr Sentamu says the Church must acknowledge the hurt which has been done

Church files on deceased clergy who served in the Diocese of York are to be opened as part of an investigation into alleged cases of child abuse.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has ordered all the relevant files from before 1950 until the present day to be scrutinised.

An independent reviewer will examine the batch of files.

Dr Sentamu said the passage of time "did not bring healing to those who may have been abused".

In July the General Synod voted to acknowledge and apologise for past safeguarding wrongs in the Church of England, and to ensure "that steps were taken to make sure that victims of abuse are always actively listened to and offered appropriate support".

'Failure to protect'

Following the vote, the Archbishop of York recalled all the files from the archive of deceased clergy who served in the Diocese of York from before 1950 to the present day.

An independent reviewer will examine the files, the diocese said.

The protocol for the Church of England's National Review of Past Cases of Child Abuse, which took place in 2008/9, did not include the files of deceased clergy, "but it is now recognised that it is important to review these files as well."

The Archbishop of York said: "The damage done by the sexual abuse of children is immense and the passage of time does not in itself bring healing.

"Where young people are shown to have been betrayed by individuals in a position of trust and by the institution's failure to protect them, it is for the church to acknowledge the hurt which has been done, to offer a full apology, and to prove, so far as is possible, that policies and practices are improved such that the same systemic failure could never be repeated."

If anyone wants to report or provide information about known or suspected abuse in the Diocese of York they can speak to one of the archbishop's chaplains by calling 01904 707021.

The diocese said both male and female chaplains were available on the number.