Archbishop appeals for abuse victims to come forward

Rowan Williams has responded to a new report on sex abuse in the Chichester Diocese and has apologised to those who have been abused as a result of failings by the Church.Mr Williams set up an inquiry into child protection policies after abuses by East Sussex vicar Colin Pritchard and Brede parish priest Roy Cotton. He appointed Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC as commissaries to conduct the inquiry in the wake of child abuse scandals - the first such appointments for more than a century. The Archbishop said the interim report confirmed that there had been "many and longstanding failures in implementing a robust and credible safeguarding policy in the Diocese of Chichester". A review in May last year found serious failings among the senior clergy after Colin Pritchard and Roy Cotton were allowed to continue working despite being accused of serious child abuse offences. Colin Pritchard was the vicar of St Barnabas in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, until 2007, despite having been first reported to police over sex offences 10 years earlier. He was later jailed for sexually abusing two young boys. One of the boys had said he was also abused by Roy Cotton, who worked as a parish priest in Brede near Rye, but prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to charge him before he died in September 2006. The Archbishop said there had been much improvement in the last couple of years, but there remained areas of concern. He said the work of the commissaries would continue and they would be supervised by the Archbishop's office

I am very grateful to those who have been conducting the Visitation in the Diocese of Chichester and to all who have co-operated with this process – not least those survivors of abuse who have shared their experience. The abiding hurt and damage done to them is something that none of us in the Church can ignore, and I am deeply sorry that they should have been let down by those they ought to have been able to trust. I hope they will believe that we take their experience seriously: we owe them not only our words of apology but our best efforts to make sure that in the future our churches will be safe places for children and vulnerable people of all ages."

– r Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury Mr Williams said guidelines laid down by the national Church and the agreed standards of best practice had not been consistently followed. He added that flaws in safeguarding practice had put children and others at risk. The current Bishop of Chichester has also responded to the interim report.

I am deeply grateful to the ommissaries for their work in producing such a detailed, honest and wide-ranging analysis of the current situation concerning Safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester. I have not yet officially begun my work as diocesan bishop and so, in many respects, their Report comes at an apposite time as the diocese also looks forward to a new phase in its ministry and mission. This Interim Report reinforces for all who read it how the damage caused to each survivor is unique and intensely personal. Let us never forget that. Nor can we ever imagine that words of apology, deep and sincere though they might be, take away the damage and wicked shamefulness that survivors of abuse carry as a destructive burden. I am particularly grateful to the ommissaries for their suggestion that I meet with all known survivors of abuse and will seek to do this as soon as my public ministry begins."

– r Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester Mr Williams said he encouraged anyone who had suffered abuse to come forward and their privacy and wishes would be respected. A special helpline has been set up in conjunction with the NSP on 0800 389 5344. If you have been subject to abuse then please contact us in the strictest of confidence

Charles Derham crd@verisona.com 02392492472

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Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

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