A report that found the Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abuse was “a big wake-up call”, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Justin Welby said “nothing must get in the way” of change after a report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) said the Church had failed to protect children.
He said: “We’ve got to do better and I want to show that I can do better.”
The inquiry said the Church created a culture where abusers “could hide”.
The report, which is the latest in a series of publications from the IICSA, said 390 clergy members and other church leaders were convicted of abuse between the 1940s and 2018.
The Church defended alleged perpetrators instead of protecting children and young people from sexual predators, the report said.
It also found examples of clergymen being ordained despite a history of child sexual offences.
The report conceded there had been “a number of important improvements” in child protection practices in the Church of England in recent years, but the inquiry’s chairwoman, Prof Alexis Jay, added it was “vital” that the Church improved how it responded to allegations of child sexual abuse.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Welby said: “I think the whole system has been broken, the way we deal with this, and it needs to move towards, as the report suggests, a much more independent oversight of safeguarding.
“(One) in which there is responsibility clearly assigned and it is not in the hands of those who are, in a phrase that was used in the inquiry, seeking to mark their own homework.”
He said he believed the Church had been “very bad at supporting those who are most deeply affected by the allegations of abuse”, saying: “The whole lack of care in this is shocking.”
“We need to focus and put at the centre of our attention now victims and survivors,” he said.
“We need a redress system in place very soon – we’ve begun a pilot scheme already and nothing must get in the way, we must do everything it takes to get that in place now and this report is a big wake-up call.”
He added: “We’ve got to do better and I want to show that I can do better.”