thirty:one eight

Witness in Church of England abuse inquiry refuses to take part in internal review

Wed 31 Jul 2019
By Cara Bentley

A victim of child sexual abuse, whose testimony played a significant role in the inquiry into child sexual abuse in the Church of England, has said he will not take part in its 'Lessons Learned' inquiry because he thinks it's designed to avoid proper scrutiny.

Rev Matt Ineson was abused when he was 16 by Rev Trevor Devamanikkam, who took his own life the day before his trial.

At the Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) regarding the Church of England, Mr Ineson gave his testimony and detailed how those he had told about the abuse failed to handle his claims properly.

He also said in the inquiry that archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were "not fit for office". 



Talking separately about a time he was ignored, he recalled when he told a member of the clergy about his abuse, saying: "he said 'I'm sorry, I've got a meeting to go to, I've got a meeting to go to', and couldn't get off the phone quick enough."

In a statement, he explained that his reasons for not participating in the Church's internal review were because he believes "the entire process seems to have been constructed so as to avoid proper scrutiny", adding "the so-called 'core group' set up by the church to investigate what happened consists only of representatives of the bishops against whom I had complained, together with communications professionals from the church".

He listed that the "independent reviewer" proposed by the Church is a contracted employee of the Church, something he says is "clearly unacceptable, but appears to be a growing pattern".

In response, a spokesperson for the Church's National Safeguarding Team said: "The Church is committed to an independent lessons learnt review into its handling of the Trevor Devamanikkam case and the Terms of Reference and reviewer are soon to be announced. All aspects of the case will be looked at including the detailed evidence given at IICSA by Matthew Ineson. The report and the Church's response will be published in full once it is completed."

The Church added that it respects Mr Ineson's decision but that the review is vital and have met with him to discuss the terms of reference further. 

It added that only some inquiries are carried out independently. 


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