Personal statement from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby following the publication of IICSA report


Personal statement from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby following the publication of IICSA report:

“The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report published today contains recommendations for 15 major institutions which have clearly failed children. That includes the Church of England.

For that we must continue to be truly sorry. It is critical that we make sure that everyone is safe, and we must commit whole-heartedly to safeguarding. It is one of the highest priorities for the Church because, as the report shows, we still have not got it right. 

I wrote to the then Home Secretary in 2014 calling for an Inquiry and I am acutely aware of how painful the process has been for the survivors and victims who have shared their experiences. They have done so with much courage, and I thank them for coming forward.

In 2020 when the previous IICSA report was released, specifically related to the Church of England, I said the Church cannot and will not make excuses for what has happened. I stand by that today.  

We are already learning and acting on the Inquiry’s previous findings and recommendations. Now we will examine and respond to today’s wider recommendations published.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone at IICSA who has worked so hard on this report. I commend the response from the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop, Bishop Jonathan Gibbs.


Read the final report here.

Read the Church of England statement here.

Read a personal statement from Archbishop Stephen Cottrell here.

Finding support

If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by the publication of this report and want to talk to someone independently please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or visit

Alternatively, you may wish to contact the diocesan safeguarding team in your area or the National Safeguarding Team – email [email protected] 

There are also other support services available.

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