An independent review of over 3,000 parish and diocesan files has been concluded with each of the 609 parishes in the Diocese of Oxford completing a return. This comprehensive review of clergy and church officer files, both living and deceased, has been described by the Bishop of Oxford as ‘a very significant, and most necessary, task'.
Alongside all dioceses in the Church of England, in 2020 the Diocese of Oxford began a detailed and comprehensive file review, known as PCR2, to check for any information regarding a concern, allegation or conviction in relation to abusive behaviour by a member of the clergy or church officer, both living and deceased, that had not already been satisfactorily acted upon.
The three independent reviewers commissioned by the diocese to undertake this work read 3,637 files. From these:
- The reviewers submitted 48 concerns about clergy or church officers (both living and deceased) to the diocesan safeguarding team for further review. 26 were previously known to the diocesan safeguarding team, and 22 were new.
- Six of the 48 concerns, spanning the period 1960 to 2010, progressed to open cases. The needs of the survivors, where the survivor is known, have been addressed and all risks have been considered and addressed.
- None of the files submitted for further review were because of a child or adult being at risk of significant harm.
The independent reviewers identified good practice in the diocese as well as raising some concerns, which have been acted upon. The review, which took in files from every parish in the diocese, was completed in 2021 but was held for publication in order to coincide with the national PCR2 report published by the Church of England.
Commenting on publication of the PCR2 report summary, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, said:
“Abuse by clergy or church officers has a life-long impact for the victim and repercussions across the church and wider society. It has been a very significant, and most necessary, task to identify and review so many files during the pandemic. I commend the efforts of all involved and the PCR2 summary, published today to the whole diocese.
“I am deeply sorry to all those who have experienced faith-based abuse, and those whose experience went unheard or uncared for at the time. The PCR2 report, and the actions arising from it, builds confidence about improvements in our safeguarding practice and ability to learn from survivors of abuse.
“Abuse is not the peculiar domain of the church, it can, and sadly does, happen in every area of society. I hope that this substantial national effort by the Church of England will spur on other national institutions to undertake a similar review of their staff and volunteer files.”
A summary of the Oxford Diocese PCR2 report and the actions taken to implement the recommendations is available to view on the diocesan website.
To come forward with information
If you or anyone you are in contact with has something to disclose, or you are affected by the information shared on this page, please get in touch:
- To talk to someone independently, please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you would prefer to contact the diocesan safeguarding team directly, please email or call our Safeguarding Team. See oxford.anglican.org/safeguarding for contact details
About safeguarding in the Diocese of Oxford
Safeguarding is part of the mission of the church, and part of who we are. During the last five years the Diocese of Oxford has…
- Grown the safeguarding team to 5.8 full time equivalent staff.
- Ensured the independent chair of the safeguarding panel can, and does, hold the diocese to account.
- Systematically trained clergy and church officers in safeguarding, including training for the senior team. In 2021, the team trained 4,901 participants, through the delivery of 96 training modules and the completion of online training, supported 20 volunteer trainers and provided guidance to 423 parish safeguarding officers.
- Delivered a culture change in the handling of safeguarding disclosures.
- Increased our corporate understanding of the nature of abuse and increased awareness of those who are isolated or lonely at risk of abuse.
- There is always more to be done. We see learning as central to the culture of a safe church, which includes learning from the Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2).
Notes for editors
- PCR2 was carried out by independent reviewers across all 42 dioceses, as well as Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces and the National Safeguarding Team (NST). This means that the Church of England has completed a review of more than 75,000 files, some dating back to the 1940s.
- The national Church of England PCR2 report and press release can be found online here.
- The Diocese of Oxford is one of the largest dioceses in the Church of England. For media enquiries, please visit oxford.anglican.org/media-centre