The past cases review (PCR) conducted in 2007 – 2009, was a large-scale review of the handling by the Church of child protection cases over many years. The aim of the review was to identify persons presenting ongoing risks to children whose cases had not been acted on appropriately. As the scope of that review was in relation to harm to children, all dioceses have now been asked to re-examine and extend the review to consider any potential risk to adults. In this new past cases review (PCR2), the House of Bishops wants to ensure that our churches and church-related activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable adults. It is therefore important that all cases of concern relating to children, young people and vulnerable adults have been considered and dealt with appropriately.
A primary aim of PCR2 is to ensure that there are no outstanding and unmanaged safeguarding risks to children, young people and vulnerable adults posed by church officers. The review will seek to ensure that the support needs of known survivors of church abuse have been considered and met.
Parishes have a key role to play in PCR2 and they have been asked to check any records held within the parish.
The following information was sent to Incumbents and priests-in-charge in the Diocese of Durham for their action and returns on: 13th January 2020, with copies being sent to all Parish Safeguarding Officers, Churchwardens. Where churches are in vacancy the churchwardens are responsible for providing the returns.
- Letter from the Bishop of Durham
- Declarations (Past Cases Review Record & Confirmation Return)
Support to Survivors of Abuse
Survivors were not invited to contribute to the original PCR and that shortcoming is being addressed in PCR2 as the Church has wanted to ensure a different, trauma-informed approach is taken. Listening to survivor voices has helped to shape how this review will be conducted.
Individuals who wish to make representations to the PCR2 process, regarding how the church dealt with their experience are invited to contact Frank Whitelock, Independent Reviewer will be updated after the 25th of June – please see note above.
Anyone who wishes to come forward with information or make a disclosure regarding church-related abuse are encouraged to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Beth Miller on 07968 034075 or email email@example.com.
However, realising that this may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the church, a dedicated telephone helpline – 0800 80 20 20 – operated independently from the church by the NSPCC has been set up.
Anyone can use the helpline to provide information or to raise concerns regarding abuse within the Church of England context, whether they are reporting issues relating to children or adults or seeking to whistleblow about poor safeguarding practice.
More information about PCR2 is available from the Church of England website.
Our Diocesan Safeguarding Team can be contacted via: firstname.lastname@example.org
A personal note from our independent reviewer for PCR2
Hello, my name is Frank Whitelock and I am the Independent Reviewer for PCR2 for the Diocese of Durham.
During my career I have worked in social care as a social worker and senior manager, mainly focussing on child protection and specialist, therapeutic services. I worked for Durham County Council for many years but now live away from the North East of England. Outside of the Past Cases Review, I have no current or historical connection with the Church of England.
A significant part of my role is to be available to engage with people who have a lived experience of abuse within the Church of England specifically in the Diocese of Durham. The purpose of this is to gather information about how victims/survivors have been responded to by the Church of England. How helpful was the response? What could have been done differently to assist them more?
It is intended that these insights will be used to assist the dioceses and the Church of England National Safeguarding Team to improve their responses to victims and survivors.
I would invite those with a lived experience of abuse within the Church of England in the Diocese of Durham who wish to share their insights to contact me initially by email at email@example.com
PCR2 Review Update 11/5/21
Our past cases review recommenced in January 2021 and is due for completion in Autumn this year.
PCR2 Privacy Notice
This privacy notice explains why and how your personal data is processed by the Past Cases Review team commissioned by the Diocese of Durham into the handling and managing by the institutional Church of England of abuse allegations and safeguarding practice. The Review team acts as the joint data controller with the Diocese for the purposes of the Review and the Review team is assisted by the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSA).
The full notice can be read and downloaded here: