The Methodist Church in Britain has issued an ‘unreserved apology’ for decades of sexual abuse.
An independent inquiry into complaints of physical and sexual abuse involving the Methodist Church has revealed that there have been allegations against almost two thousand perpetrators, spanning over half a century. Each perpetrator may have had multiple victims, which means that thousands of innocent lives are likely to have been affected. Of the numerous allegations considered by the inquiry, 200 concerned ministers of the Church. Over half of these were allegations of sexual abuse.
The report, entitled ‘Courage, Cost and Hope’, was commissioned by the Methodist Church with the aim of learning ‘lessons from the past’. It is the result of an independent review which took place over three years. The volume of abuse is shocking and has highlighted the need for wide scale changes in both the culture of the Methodist Church and the way it deals with these issues in practice.
It is widely known that sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has been rife for years. However, the findings of this inquiry make it abundantly clear that the problem is not unique to Catholicism but is widespread throughout other religious organisations.
There are six separate Police investigations taking place into the allegations involving the Methodist Church. It is hoped that many of the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
This is another saddening example of a respected organisation failing its members. The well-being of vulnerable victims has been ignored whilst suspicions and reports of abuse have been swept under the carpet to prevent a scandal. It has been admitted that the Methodist Church has failed to listen to those who have been abused, thereby adding to the suffering of the victims who had already sustained a grave violation of their trust. The Church’s failure to take appropriate action may have allowed the perpetrators to target further victims, which could have been avoided.
Whilst the apology issued by the Methodist Church is welcome, it will not repair the significant damage caused to the individual victims involved. Being a victim of abuse can change the course of the victim’s life. Their mental and physical health can be affected, which can have consequences for their ability to work and maintain relationships in the future.
If you have been a victim of abuse by a member of the Methodist Church, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our specialist team for a free and confidential assessment of your claim, call Freephone 0808 139 1597 or email [email protected]