Churches issue report on 'new dawn' for abuse survivors

 An important new report: Time for Action: Sexual abuse, the Churches and a new dawn for survivors, is being released today. Written by a group of representatives from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the report considers the pastoral care of those who have been sexually abused; training and screening of clergy; and the rehabilitation of sex offenders in ways that protect children and vulnerable adults. In a statement the CTBI said: "In the last decade the Churches have made immense strides in ensuring the safety of children and vulnerable adults, however a large number of people who have survived sexual abuse have been left nursing their deep pain and anger. In Time for Action, the Churches are called upon to recognize the ways in which their institutional life has silenced those who have been abused and protected those who have abused." Speakers at the embargoed launch yesterday were to include: the Revd David Gamble (Methodist Church, Moderator of the Group), Elizabeth Ingram (Church of England), Margaret Kennedy (Christian Survivors of Sexual Abuse), and Eileen Shearer (Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales). In the report's introduction, the Revd Jean Mayland, Co-ordinating Secretary for Church Life at CTBI said: "If the Churches recognize that now is the time to act on the recommendations of the CTBI Group on Sexual Abuse then a new day will dawn for many people who have experienced great sadness and yet somehow held on to hope." The Revd David Gamble, Moderator of the Group and Pastoral Care and Personal Relationships Secretary of the Methodist Church, said: 'No one can now pretend that these things do not happen or that they are not important. Now is the time for all of us, churches and individuals, to take our stand and to commit ourselves to change. Now is the Time for Action." The new Archbishop of Canterbury Rt Rev Rowan Williams described the book as: "sometimes devastating reading, but it is timely, necessary and - if we are prepared to hear and act on some unwelcome truths - ultimately hopeful." The report is also being launched in Wales and Scotland this week.

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