Anglican archbishop tackles sex abuse in the church

2018-03-22 10:51
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba   (Grant Pitcher, Gallo Images, file)

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba (Grant Pitcher, Gallo Images, file)

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Cape Town - The Anglican Church in Cape Town is urgently taking steps to address sex abuse cases in the church.

In a statement, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Reverend Thabo Makgoba, said he has started urgent consultations to address the issue and to "strengthen" procedures which are in place for those who deal with sex abuse cases when they are reported.

His statement comes after "four individuals have either spoken out publicly or contacted my office privately" to report sex abuse in two dioceses, apparently during the 1970s and 1980s.

READ: Archbishop Makgoba calls on new ANC leadership to replace Zuma as head of state

In February, before the cases were reported, the church's Synod of Bishops discussed the worldwide Anglican Communion Safe Church Network in detail, Makgoba said.

"The communion has acknowledged the betrayal of trust by some clergy and church workers who have abused children and adults, for whom they have had pastoral responsibility.

"In Southern Africa, church law makes provision for someone, who holds a licence to minister in the church and who is accused of sexual assault or harassment, to be charged before a church tribunal within their diocese and disciplined if found guilty."

'Lagging behind'

In the past, the church has advised complainants to report cases to the police.

"However, it is clear from the experiences reported in the last few weeks, that we are lagging behind in our care for victims of abuse," Makgoba asserted.

He added that he had established a team in Cape Town years ago to give him feedback on the manner in which complaints were handled.

The team included a psychologist, a lawyer, a priest and the head of an institution involved in a case.

He has now advised bishops last week to advise them to set up similar teams in their dioceses and local arch deaconries and parishes.

"I have asked that these teams be appointed to intervene when there are allegations of abuse in parishes or church schools. They should include a psychologist, social worker or counsellors, someone who is qualified to give legal advice, a community worker from outside the church, and the head of the affected entity within the church.

"I am also urgently consulting more widely on how the church cannot only act more effectively, but be seen to act effectively in cases of sexual abuse. Key to my efforts is to achieve holistic and sustainable healing."

Makgoba said he took responsibility for what had happened in the church in the past.

Where the church failed or wronged anyone, "We beg their forgiveness.

"Every human being deserves to have the dignity bestowed on them by God respected. Anyone who demeans this through any form of abuse, demeans themselves and God."

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Read more on:    anglican church  |  thabo makgoba  |  cape town  |  sex abuse  |  crime

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