Back to Blog

Dead clergy files to be reviewed for evidence of Sexual & Physical Abuse

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has ordered a review of all the files of dead clergy who served in the diocese from 1950 to the present so that an independent investigator can determine whether they may have sexually abused children.  

The announcement comes a month after Dr Sentamu launched an independent inquiry into the Church’s handling of reports of alleged child abuse by the late Robert Waddington. For more information please view the below blogs;

'Church accused of failing to report child abuse allegations - our Child Abuse Solicitors discuss'

'Abuse Claims against the Church of England - our Child Abuse Solicitors discuss'

It also comes after an apology by the Church of England’s General Synod who apologised for its failure to listen to abuse victims 'The Church of England apologises for sexual abuse'

A previous national review of past cases of child abuse was carried out 4 years ago but this did not extend to files relating to deceased clergy. We are pleased to hear that the Church of England has taken the positive step of announcing this further review. The Church of England has said that it now recognises the importance of such files to the Church and the agencies that may receive reports of abuse by clergy who have since died. Dr Semantu said when announcing the review that, “Where young people are shown to have been betrayed by individuals in a position of trust and by the institution’s failure to protect them it is for the Church to acknowledge the hurt which has been done, offer a full apology and to prove so far as is possible that policies and practices are improved such that the same systemic failure could never be repeated.”  

Reverand Macnaughton the Archbishop’s Chief of Staff added that they want all victims to know that their story will be listened to and went on to encourage anyone who has information about known or suspected abuse to come forward.  

Slater and Gordon are pleased to hear that this review has taken place. It is a positive step that we hope highlights the shift in both society’s and the Church’s approach to allegations of Sexual & Physical Abuse. We hope that by carrying out a thorough and full review the Church will be able to learn from its past failures and ensure that the policies and practices are put in place to prevent others from suffering abuse.

Our specialist abuse team are experienced at dealing with claims of abuse relating to the Church. If you have been effected by or would like to discuss any of the issues raised please contact a member of our team on 020 7657 1658 for free confidential advice or email