The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) has warned that children of highly committed Christians are, potentially, at greater risk of abuse, because their parents are more prone to obeying their church leaders without question.
The warning comes in response to the release of The Foundations of Abuse, a major new report from CEOP (part of the new National Crime Agency). The Report highlights that children within institutions (including churches) are not safe from child sex abusers, and warns that offenders often groom their victims into believing the attention they show them is an ‘honour’, making it harder for them to report the abuse.
The Report also states that church management structures can make it easier for offenders to abuse children, by discouraging junior staff and members from reporting their suspicions to the police.
Simon Bass, CEO of CCPAS, said: “It sounds harsh to suggest that the children of strongly-committed parents are more at risk of being abused. However, this is not only true but it stems largely from the fact that they tend to buy in to the culture of their local church wholeheartedly.”
One third of the case studies in the Report (six out of eighteen) relate to abuse within faith environments. And five of those six abusing leaders specifically targeted the children of the more devout.
The Report has recommended the Government close a loophole in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which currently does not deem Ministers of Religion (and some other roles) as holding ‘positions of trust’.
For more details, visit www.ccpas.co.uk