UK Methodist Church apologies to abuse survivors

(Photo: REUTERS / Nir Elias)Dolls are displayed in Rabin Square as part of an exhibition to raise awareness of child abuse in Tel Aviv May 24, 2013. Some 1,000 dolls were laid at the square in Israel's commercial capital in a two-day long exhibition organized by a local organization for the protection of children.

The Methodist Church in Britain has apologized unreservedly to survivors and victims of abuse to children, young people and adults the release of a report dealing with 2,000 church cases uncovered from 1950 to 2014.

The church on May 28 published Courage, Cost & Hope, an independent review of past safeguarding cases related to the Church from 1950 to 2014.

Speaking on behalf of the church, the general secretary of the Methodist Conference, the Rev. Martyn Atkins, issued a full and unreserved apology to survivors and victims of abuse in response to the report.

The independent inquiry revealed 1,885 cases of alleged abuse linked to the church in Britain, the largest proportion of which were of a sexual nature, dating back to the 1950s.

The 100-page report took three years to complete and showed that many serving church ministers and staff had helped to protect colleagues who carried out abuse.

The majority of the 1,885 cases of alleged abuse linked to the church in Britain from 1950 were of a sexual nature.

"On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers in Full Connexion and members of the Methodist Church.

"That abuse has been inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the Church," he said.

Atkins admitted that the church had not always listened properly to those abused or cared for them.

"This is deeply regrettable. In respect of these things we have, as a Christian Church, clearly failed to live in ways that glorify God and honour Christ.

"I am certain that the Methodist Conference will want to resolve to do all in its power to improve its systems to protect children, young people and adults from abuse within the life of the Church and on Church premises, and to review them diligently on a regular basis."

Complaints of sexual abuse accounted for 914 cases and ministers or lay employees were involved in 26 per cent of the alleged cases, The Daily Mail reported.

In 61 of these cases there was contact with the police and there are six ongoing police investigations as a result. There were 200 Methodist ministers identified as perpetrators or alleged perpetrators within the report.

(Image: Methodist Church in Britain)
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