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Lambeth Palace statement:

Fri 12 Jun 2015
By Desmond Busteed

A spokesperson for Lambeth Palace issued this statement to Premier:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury is totally committed to listening to the voices and experience of survivors of abuse and to improving the Church's safeguarding responses. He regularly meets with survivors and is utterly determined that their interests, not the Church's interests, should come first.

"The Archbishop has publicly acknowledged and apologised for past safeguarding failures and pledged that any allegation brought to the Church - historic or current - will be taken seriously and rigorously investigated. The Archbishop and the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, wrote to the Home Secretary last year asking for a Public Inquiry into institutional abuse, before any inquiry was announced. Since it was announced, they have written to each Chair as they were named committing themselves to full engagement and suggesting that, if the inquiry chose to go institution by institution, then the Church of England could be taken first.

"Measures have been put in place to strengthen the Church's safeguarding procedures, including: a very significant increase in the budget for safeguarding work; the appointment of a Church of England national safeguarding adviser; a detailed review and audit of the files of clergy and church workers dating back to 1960; and a new Measure on Safeguarding that will come before the General Synod for final approval next month. During the last year, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have introduced a rule that no bishop can now be consecrated until he or she has received safeguarding training.

"The House of Bishops has recently approved new practice guidance, a national safeguarding training framework is under development and each diocese will be independently audited over the next two years, with reports published as part of the Church's commitment to being more transparent about its safeguarding practices.

"The Archbishop himself and the Church of England more widely are spending a great deal of time on safeguarding matters, determined to ensure the Church becomes a safer place for all. It is without question an absolute priority in his ministry.

"The Archbishop recognises that the Church still has a long way to go to and believes strongly there is absolutely no room for complacency."

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