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Report blasts Church of England over handling of sex abuse

The file photo shows the Church of England in London.

A new report has revealed that the Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abuse for decades and preferred instead to safeguard its own reputation.

The government-commissioned Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which examines institutions across Britain, criticized in a damning report on Tuesday the cathedral for protecting predatory priests rather than young victims of sexual abuse, and blamed a decades-long culture of secrecy and silence that exacerbated the victims' suffering.

The inquiry found that 390 offenders associated with the Church of England were convicted of sexual offences against children from the 1940s to 2018.

The report also revealed that, in many cases, the Church of England failed to take the abuse allegations seriously, and that perpetrators were “given more support than victims.”

“Over many decades, the Church of England failed to protect children and young people from sexual abusers, instead facilitating a culture where perpetrators could hide and victims faced barriers to disclosure that many could not overcome,” the inquiry’s chairwoman, Alexis Jay, wrote.

“If real and lasting changes are to be made, it’s vital that the Church improve the way it responds to allegations from victims and survivors, and provides proper support for those victims over time,” she added.

"The church's neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of children and young people in favor of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable.”

Reacting to the report, the Church of England acknowledged that apologies were not enough for survivors and vowed to "learn lessons" from the findings.

The church announced last month that it had set up a large compensation fund for survivors of past abuse by members of the clergy.

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