1st November, 2017

Update from Ampleforth Abbey

Ampleforth Abbey

You may have read about Ampleforth’s participation in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, (also known as IICSA and formerly The Goddard Inquiry).

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was set up in March 2015 by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May. Its task is to investigate whether public bodies and other non-state institutions in England and Wales have taken seriously their responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse, and in the light of its findings make meaningful recommendations for change in the future.

Through the Truth Project strand of its work the Inquiry invites victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences, which can be submitted at any time during the course of the Inquiry.

The Inquiry covers a wide range of institutions including:

• local authorities

• the police and the armed forces

• the Crown Prosecution Service

• the Immigration Service

• the BBC

• schools, hospitals and children's homes

• churches, mosques and other religious organisations

• charities and voluntary organisations

The Catholic church in England and Wales is one of these institutions, and among the first of its bodies to be examined is the English Benedictine Congregation. Ampleforth Abbey and College are part of this case study, and are cooperating fully with the Inquiry as a “core participant”. This means that we will have provided and will continue to provide evidence to the Inquiry, that through our counsel we will be able to make opening and closing statements at the Inquiry’s public hearing, and if necessary can ask questions about other evidence provided.

The public hearing for our case study is scheduled for 27 November to 15 December when witnesses and core participants will provide evidence upon which they will be questioned. To date, we have submitted a number of witness statements to the Inquiry from across the organisation. The Inquiry has yet to determine who from Ampleforth will be asked to give evidence in person so we will update you in due course.

As you would expect, we have taken expert advice on our participation in the Inquiry and prepared carefully for the public hearing. Among other things, we would wish to assure the Inquiry, as well as yourselves, and others who will take an interest in the hearing of the following:

  • Our sincere and heartfelt apologies to anyone who suffered abuse in our schools, monastery, parishes or other ministries.

  • That victims and survivors who wish to talk to us are welcome to do so. Some of the monks have been selected to receive specialist training on how best to help victims and survivors who may approach them about such matters, so that we may support those who seek help.

  • That we have a confidential helpline run by Survive York for anyone seeking help who does not want to speak to us.

  • That we have a robust set of safeguarding policies and processes in place, which are subject to external scrutiny

  • That a culture of safeguarding is fully embedded into the life of our community and the work of every member of the staff or monastic community

If you have been affected by abuse in any of Ampleforth’s works, please do not hesitate to get in touch. To contact Ampleforth’s Safeguarding Coordinator, Mick Walker, please call 01439 766013 or email mick.walker@ampleforth.org.uk

To contact a dedicated, confidential helpline run by Survive please call 0808 145 1890 or 01904 803927.  

To learn more about the Inquiry please visit www.iicsa.org.uk

For all press enquiries, please contact Sarah Opie, Director of Marketing and Communications on 01439 741103 or sarah.opie@ampleforth.org.uk or Launch PR on 020 7758 3900 or ampleforth@hellolaunch.co.uk