Church members' attitudes toward sex abuse allegations against clergy have improved, but some priests still think that the complainants are merely after the money, an expert has told the Church of England's General Synod.
According to the Independent Safeguarding Authority's former chair, Roger Singleton, some priests still have ambivalent or even hostile attitudes toward sex abuse allegations. He said this causes them to be unable to accept the appropriate measures needed to prevent abuse from happening in the future, The Telegraph relayed.
In some cases, Singleton said the clergy "believe that complainants are simply out for the money." His comments were made as part of the Church of England's preparations for a string of investigations into abuse allegations sometime this year.
The bishop of Chichester, Dr. Martin Warner, said survivors of clergy abuse were "people, not a tricky problem to be solved." He also urged people not to underestimate the effort it takes to make an allegation and to revisit the details of the abuse to comply with the inquiry. However, they also have to be ready to face the possibility that no one would believe their story.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reported that the number of sex abuse allegations that the Church of England had received by 2016 had reached 3,300. This means that the Church would have to shell out almost 50 million British pounds in compensation for these cases.
In one case against now-deceased Bishop of Chichester George Bell, the Church had to pay 15,000 pounds in compensation even though the accusations have been shrouded in dispute. Even though there was a growing number of controversies over false sex abuse allegations, the bishops will continue to label complainants as sex abuse "victims" and "survivors."
Out of the sex abuse complaints submitted to the Synod, almost 18 percent involve church officers. The rest of the allegations were most likely made against parishioners or lay individuals.