Rachel Thain, an abuse specialist at our Taunton office, reports on the ‘unreserved apology’ that has been issued by the Methodist Church for decades of sexual abuse.
A three year inquiry into complaints of physical and sexual abuse involving the Methodist Church has identified allegations against almost two thousand perpetrators, taking place over the course of half a century. When you consider that each perpetrator may have had multiple victims, this means that many thousands of innocent lives are likely to have been affected.
200 allegations of misconduct concerned ministers of the Church, with over half of these involving allegations of sex abuse.
The Methodist Church hopes the independent report, ‘Courage, Cost and Hope’, will enable it to learn ‘lessons from the past’. However, the extent of the abuse within the church has caused shock and outrage. Clearly, fundamental changes to the way the Church operates are called for.
Sex abuse in the Catholic Church has previously been well documented. The findings of this inquiry suggest that the problem is endemic throughout religious organisations.
Six separate police investigations are underway. It is likely that many of the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
The report criticised the culture within the Methodist Church of ignoring suspicions and sweeping allegations under the carpet to avoid an embarrassing scandal. The Church’s failure to act is likely to have allowed perpetrators of sex abuse to target further victims.
An apology whilst welcome will not repair the harm suffered by the victims. Sex abuse can change the course of the victim’s life. Mental and physical health can be affected, leading to victims encountering problems at work and maintaining relationships.
Our specialist abuse compensation team can be contacted through any one of our offices in Devon and Somerset.
So, if you have been a victim of abuse within the Methodist Church and would like to know whether you will be eligible for compensation then call us for a free and confidential assessment of your case on Freephone 0808 139 1606 or email [email protected].