The Archbishop of Canterbury said he is “ashamed” of the Church of England for its handling of child sexual abuse, but he does not give accused bishops an “easy ride”.
The Most Rev Justin Welby has been giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse investigation into the Church.
He has been accused by abuse survivors of failing to sanction bishops accused of committing or failing to report abuse.
Mr Welby said that despite being the head of the Church of England, he only wielded “influence” over other bishops.
The Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors advocacy group has been a core participant in the inquiry.
Chair Phil Johnson told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright it is “shocking” the Church has tried to deal with reports of abuse “in-house”.
“It is quite astounding how many cases have been suppressed or failed to be dealt with correctly,” he said.
“Abused people are shut down and alienated when they choose to report or even more so if they choose to try and seek a claim for compensation against the church.”
Mr Johnson said Mr Welby’s claim he has no direct control over bishops is accurate, and this is one of the “huge problems for getting things done”.
He said institutions including churches, schools and sporting clubs must not be given the option to deal with sexual abuse cases on their own.
“We believe that there should be mandatory reporting law so that any allegations that come into any institution should be reported to the sexual authorities,” he said.
“It should be up to safeguarding professionals to assess whether these are valid cases and whether there is risk, rather than people who have a vested interest in that institution.”