Anglican Watch

Report finds Church of England cannot be trusted to handle abuse

Church of England cannot be trusted to handle abuse

It comes as no surprise, but a recent study finds that the Church of England (CoE) cannot be trusted to handle allegations of abuse.

The report, prepared by Professor Alexis of Strathclyde University and former head of the Safeguarding Commission, finds:

  • Church officials, including bishops and other judicatories, often lack experience and knowledge of the dynamics of abuse and related topics.
  • Church leaders have failed to allay concerns that the church wants to control both the safeguarding process and its reputation.
  • Only 16 percent of victims report a positive experience with the safeguarding process, with many saying that the system provided too little support to victims, and too much deference/protection for perpetrators.
  • The safeguarding system has, in some cases, become weaponized.
  • Far too often, victims report that the safeguarding process is detrimental to their faith.

The report also recommends that priests who delay or obstruct complaints should face discipline.

Advocates for victims of abuse say this is the church’s last chance to regain trust.

Anglican Watch believes that similar results would be found in the Episcopal Church, were the denomination to take abuse seriously enough to actually assess the outcomes of existing protections. Indeed, far too often we see Episcopal bishops at the heart of abuse.

We further note that Chilton Knudsen, who heads up the disciplinary board for the House of Bishops, has myriad integrity issues herself, including two known failures to report child sexual abuse, testimony in civil cases that may politely be termed “improbable,” and a history of sandbagging Title IV cases.

Indeed, Knudsen has held, in writing, that allegations of criminal conduct by a priest are not “of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” That directly contradicts church canons, which provide that matters complained of are presumed to be true for purposes of intake, and expressly forbid illegal conduct by clergy.

Moreover, Knudsen’s conduct in the Will Bouvel matter is reprehensible, involving as it does perjury by an Episcopal priest.

Thus, the Episcopal Church is every bit as bad as the CoE when it comes to lack of integrity around clergy discipline. The only difference is that the former doesn’t care enough about the issue to conduct an independent study, which makes it one step worse than CoE.


  1. Color me shocked! The off shoot of the catholic church has a massive internal abuse problem. Maybe they should make that study about the churches role with indigenous boarding schools an independent study.

    Honestly they should skip the study. No one in the world is going to hold their breath waiting on a response from the Episcopal church. Its not even going to be around in twenty years anyways.

    The COE has the same problem as the monarchy, they cant answer why they exist other than “tradition mostly.”

    the very idea that the church has no clue why they lost virtually every single member of the next generation.

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