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Church of England's £200million compensation scheme will pay out victims of historic sex abuse

The Church of England yesterday set up a multi-million-pound compensation fund designed to funnel money to victims of historic sex abuse by bishops, clergy and lay church workers.

Its ‘interim pilot support scheme’ will make the first payouts from a compensation process expected to cost the Church £200million.

The fund was approved by the Church’s Cabinet, the Archbishops’ Council, which also said that in the future it would invite outside authorities to run independent inquiries into allegations against Church figures.

A statement said: ‘The pilot scheme is designed to enable the Church to respond in particular to those survivors’ cases which are already known to the Church, where the survivor is known to be in seriously distressed circumstances, and the Church has a heightened responsibility because of the way the survivor was responded to following disclosure.

The Church of England yesterday set up a multi-million-pound compensation fund designed to funnel money to victims of historic sex abuse by bishops, clergy and lay church workers. Pictured: York Minster cathedral

The Church of England yesterday set up a multi-million-pound compensation fund designed to funnel money to victims of historic sex abuse by bishops, clergy and lay church workers. Pictured: York Minster cathedral

‘Experience with these pilot cases will help inform the setting up of the Church’s full redress scheme for victims and survivors of abuse as that is developed.’

Officials declined to disclose the scale of the new fund, but Church documents earlier this year said that the final bill was likely to come to £200million.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a joint statement with the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, said: ‘The issue of independence is something we have taken a personal lead on and are very committed to. 

‘We are glad that we [are] now going to make this happen. Along with providing redress for victims and survivors this is the next step we must take.

‘These decisions feel like a turning point. We continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed. 

Among sex abuse cases to recently trouble the Church was that of former bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades

Peter Ball

Among sex abuse cases to recently trouble the Church was that of former bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades

‘We are profoundly sorry for our failings, but today our words of sorrow are matched by actions that we believe will lead to real change. 

‘We hope that this will provide some hope for the future.’

Among sex abuse cases to recently trouble the Church was that of former bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades. 

Ball, who died last year, was allowed to remain in the Church after accepting a reprimand for his behaviour in 1993.

An independent inquiry in 2017 said the Church had failed to protect boys and then concealed evidence of Ball’s crimes.

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