A report by the Church’s Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) has found that the Interim Support Scheme (ISS), established for Church of England abuse survivors, may be causing further trauma for some victims. The ISS was created in 2020 to provide financial assistance to those in need while awaiting a full compensation scheme. However, some survivors expressed difficulties in engaging with the Church and providing the necessary evidence for support.
The Bishop of Birkenhead, Julie Conalty, acknowledged the criticisms and apologised to victims who had a “poor experience.” She emphasised that the Church is “trying to get it right.” According to the Church, £1.4m has been distributed to 68 survivors so far. The ISB report highlighted the case of one individual, referred to as “Mr X,” who became suicidal due to the way his requests for support were handled. It claimed that the ISS appeared to have been “set up in haste, underthought and under-resourced.”
Other survivors, like Sophie Whiting, 55, and Teresa Cooper, 55, shared their struggles with the ISS, including unexplained payment cancellations and lack of proper support. Bishop Conalty admitted the challenges faced by survivors in proving their need for help, but insisted that evidence is necessary for the scheme to function effectively. The survivors interviewed by the BBC expressed their desire to settle their final compensation claims and no longer have to deal with the Church of England.
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