It is becoming apparent that the sexual abuse of children has been more widespread in British society than many have believed. The spheres of broadcasting and sport have recently been in the spotlight and we already know that abuse has happened in our churches. The courage of victims and survivors has led to a number of prosecutions and convictions but we cannot be confident that we know and understand the full extent of church-related sexual abuse. Some may still be unable to articulate what has happened to them; some may not have come forward because their abuser has died and others may not wish to face the process of a criminal trial.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is taking this diocese as a case study, has initiated a Truth Project, which is designed to allow anyone to talk about their experiences and be heard with respect. We are asking anyone who reads this letter to think about whether this is something that they might be able to contribute to. The Truth Project offers the opportunity to disclose what has happened to you or to others. This might be sexual abuse or it might be the failure of someone to respond when abuse was suspected or reported. It is when people come forward to tell about the abuse they have suffered, about the grooming of victims they have witnessed or about the failure of people to respond, that we shall begin to understand the truth. It may be that your small piece of the jigsaw holds the key to understanding a much wider picture.
It is important that anyone who has suffered abuse has the opportunity to make sure their story has been heard. It is also important that the truth about abuse, and about how it has been responded to, is brought into the light. It is for this reason that we commend the Truth Project to you. You will find their contact details below.