The following information relates to PCR2 in the Diocese of Oxford. Please refer to the national Church of England Past Case Review webpage for further information. If you cannot find the answer to your question on either website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Our churches and church-related activities must be safe for all, with safeguarding policies and practices that promote a safer church.
We need to be certain that all known cases of concern about the behaviour of our clergy or church officers towards children and adults have been considered and dealt with appropriately.
PCR2 has been approved and established by the Archbishop’s Council and it was a national requirement for each Incumbent to undertake the Review.
The Diocese of Oxford was not asked to repeat the 2007 PCR but to review files after 2007. PCR 2 in the diocese followed the national guidelines, however the review did not actively engage with survivors as guidance from the national church was shared after PCR 2 had commenced in this diocese. However, we are committed to giving a central voice to survivors going forward.
Every church in the Diocese of Oxford took part. You can find out more about the background of PCR2 here on the Diocese of Oxford website.
A primary objective of PCR2 was to ensure that there are no outstanding and unmanaged safeguarding risks to children, young people and vulnerable adults posed by church officers and to ensure that our churches and church-related activities are as safe as possible. It is important that all known cases of concern about the behaviour of clergy and church officers towards children and vulnerable adults have been considered and dealt with appropriately. Safeguarding is an essential part of the church’s mission and at the heart of our theology.
A further objective of PCR2 was to ensure that the needs of people who have experienced abuse within a church context have been met and that the voices of survivors have been heard and shape responses to how the church manage allegations of abuse at both a national and local level.
In 2020 the then-acting Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, wrote to all Church of England clergy who were in parish ministry in the Diocese of Oxford (Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes) about PCR2. Bishop Colin's letter required clergy to check back through their parish records to ensure that all safeguarding concerns and allegations involving clergy or church officers had been reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor. In parishes without a priest, the bishop asked the churchwardens to complete the review. A fact sheet was prepared to assist with this process and accompanied the letter from Bishop Colin.
Clergy and church officers were required to examine all documentation kept within a parish that related to any safeguarding concerns.
A separate signing sheet was required for every parish in each benefice.
The independent reviewers found that the diocese received a 100% return from parishes for PCR2.
The diocese advised incumbents and church officers that they were to review all files, no matter how old, because even though a perpetrator may now be deceased, their victims may still be alive and in need of pastoral care.
Roles within the scope of ‘Church Officer’ as defined by the PCR2 guidance referred to anyone ‘appointed/elected by or on behalf of the Church to a post or role, whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid'. This included all clergy, including those with PTO and clergy such as hospital, school and prison chaplains who hold the Bishop’s licence, readers and licensed lay workers; any parish lay employees and volunteers whose role includes, or has included, or is likely to include in the future, engaging in direct involvement with children and vulnerable adults in church organised activities based upon a relationship of trust that is likely to have provided, or provide in the future, opportunities for their abuse or neglect. All roles that are required to undertake some level of safeguarding training were automatically be considered for inclusion within this definition.
The Diocese of Oxford commissioned three independent case reviewers to scrutinise parish declarations to ensure that all cases were dealt with appropriately. The reviewers were not part of the safeguarding staff team and have reported their findings directly to the Independent Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Panel, Peter Hay CBE.
The level of details in relation to safeguarding concerns discussed in the review has meant that, like in most other dioceses, it is not possible to publish the full review as individuals could be identified from this information.