Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Apologises For Church's Slow Action Over Woman's Abuse

Archbishop Apologises For Church's Slow Action Over Woman's Abuse

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has apologised to a woman whose complaint of abuse was not taken seriously by a senior Church of England cleric.

The Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin suspended the Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Robert Key, on Friday following a critical independent report into the 2008 complaint by the woman of abusive behaviour by a churchwarden in Jersey.

The report, commissioned by the Diocese of Winchester's Safeguarding Panel, raised concerns that the dean did not take the complaint seriously.

He also showed a perceived lack of neutrality, offered poor communication and failed to act in relation to the parishioner.

The archbishop said in a statement: "The Bishop of Winchester's swift, decisive and wholly necessary actions following his receipt of this report are to be commended.

"I too wish to add my own personal apologies to the young woman who was so badly let down by those she had turned to for help and I wholeheartedly support the investigation that the bishop has launched. He must receive full co-operation from all involved.

"We cannot place a high enough importance on safeguarding issues and it is vital that lessons are learned from this case, not just in Jersey but throughout the whole of the Church of England. Every day, the vulnerable come to us for shelter, for support and for comfort. Their trust cannot be taken for granted."

The Bishop of Winchester has begun an investigation into the conduct of the case by the dean, who is the most senior C of E cleric on the Channel island, and other matters raised by the report.

The Rt Rev Dakin, who is responsible for the Church of England in the Channel Islands, also apologised to the woman for her treatment.

The States of Jersey Police and Hampshire Constabulary did investigate the allegations in 2008 but found that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

The diocese has sent the police a copy of the independent report.

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