Lincoln diocese safeguarding team 'envy' of Anglican church

Gavin Kirk
Image caption The Venerable Gavin Kirk says the Lincoln diocese is taking steps to ensure people are kept safe

Children and vulnerable people are safe in the care of the Anglican church in Lincolnshire, a senior clergyman says.

A BBC investigation in 2019 found two former Bishops of Lincoln had failed to act when informed of alleged abuse.

The current Bishop, Christopher Lowson, was later suspended for a separate alleged failure to act in relation to a safeguarding children inquiry.

The Archdeacon of Lincoln said the diocese was "doing its best to get it right" and had "first class staff".

The BBC investigation found clergy and staff from the diocese were referred to police in 2015 over allegations a "blind eye" had been turned to claims of historic child abuse.

Police and the Lincoln Diocese investigated 25 people over alleged abuse from a list of 53 names passed to officers, with three cases leading to convictions.

The programme alleged some of the names could have been referred to police years earlier as part of the Church of England's national Past Cases Review, which examined tens of thousands of Church records in 2008 and 2009 to discover whether abuse cases had slipped through the net.

Image caption The Diocese of Lincoln is the largest in England by area

The Archdeacon of Lincoln, the Venerable Gavin Kirk, said the first formal advice around safeguarding in the Church of England was only issued in the 1990s and many of the cases of concern predated that advice.

"We're now supported by policy and guidance which hasn't always been the case," he said.

"I think our safeguarding department is the envy of the Church of England. We've got first class staff who do a brilliant job.

"We haven't always got it right, but we are doing our best to get it right and are very happy to be told when we're not getting it right."

The Bishop of Lincoln's suspension remains in place and the Church of England has not said when its investigation would be concluded.

At the time of the suspension the Archbishop of Canterbury said there was no allegation the bishop had "committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult."

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