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Dame Moira Gibb to chair Bishop Peter Ball abuse review

Wed 24 Feb 2016
By Hannah Tooley

The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the appointment of Dame Moira Gibb as chairperson of an independent review into the way the Church of England responded to allegations against Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the appointment of Dame Moira Gibb as chairperson of an independent review into the way the Church of England responded to allegations against Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester.

Peter Ball was jailed for sex offences in October 2015, after he admitted abusing young men and misconduct in public office.

The 83-year-old pleaded guilty to assaulting two young men and using his position to do the same to others whilst he was the Bishop of Lewes.

The Old Bailey heard that when police initially investigated in 1992 he escaped prosecution.

Dame Moira has worked extensively in the statutory sector and holds a range of non-executive roles.

She will be assisted in the review by Kevin Harrington JP, safeguarding consultant and lead reviewer on a range of Serious Case Reviews; James Reilly, former Chief Executive of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (until Feb 2016); Heather Schroeder MBE, currently vice chair of Action for Children, who formerly held senior positions in social services and children's services in a number of local authorities.

The team's investigation is expected to finish within 12 months.

Another investigation, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), chaired by Justice Goddard, is also looking at the Peter Ball case.

However it has made clear that institutions should continue with their previous commitments on safeguarding and the Church is in contact with IICSA on this.

Most Revd Justin Welby says the review has a number of aims: finding out what information was available to the Church of England, who had the information and when, and to provide a detailed timeline and transparent account of the response.

It will also endeavour to investigate: whether the response was in accordance with recognised good practice and compliant with CofE policy and legislation as well as statutory policy and legislation; lessons about any necessary changes and developments needed within the CofE to ensure that safeguarding work is of the highest possible standard, and; how complaints and disciplinary processes are managed and any other specific areas of Church behaviour and practice identified by the review.

The Review team will:

Have access to all of the material and files on this case within Lambeth Palace, and the Dioceses of Chichester, Gloucester, Bath and Wells and Truro

Consider relevant material provided by victims of Peter Ball, their families, and others

Give opportunities to victims to share their experiences and their impact 

Give opportunities to those within the CofE who worked closely on this case to share their experiences

Consult with relevant bodies to ensure appropriate sharing of information

Archbishop Welby said: "I am hugely grateful to Dame Moira for agreeing to take up this vital role and chair the review, which will take a detailed look into how the Church handled the Peter Ball case.

"We have offered an unreserved apology to all the survivors and commend the bravery of those who brought these allegations forward, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.

"It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a bishop in the Church of England committed these offences.

"There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades. I hope the review will provide the Church as a whole with an opportunity to learn lessons which will improve our safeguarding practice and policy."

The Church is working with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline: 0800 389 5344.


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