At Scripture Union, keeping children safe is of paramount importance, and the need to provide adequate care for children and young people is at the forefront of any event planning
For full details of our safeguarding policy please download the document below.
Independent review into John Smyth case - review in progress (8 January 2020)
The lessons learned review into Scripture Union's past connections with John Smyth has begun and we are expecting the results in Spring 2020. We are keen to ensure that learning from these past experiences shape and influence our safeguarding practices as we continue to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of those in our care.
Independent review into John Smyth case - clarifying statement (27 August 2019)
Scripture Union wish to clarify our position regarding the Church of England’s review into their handling of allegations relating to the conduct of the late John Smyth. Whilst we are not co-participants in their review, we have not refused to cooperate and remain in communication with the Church of England on the matter. We believe that it is appropriate that we consider the matter further ourselves and so, as previously announced, we will be commissioning an independent review to learn lessons from our past connections with John Smyth. We are confident that this approach will lead to more effective learning for SU than would have been achieved by us participating in a Church of England review.
The safety, protection and care of children, young people and vulnerable adults in our care today remains our highest priority. As previously stated, we are deeply saddened at the abuse suffered by many at the hands of John Smyth and are continuing to contribute to the counselling support available for anyone affected by his actions.
Independent review into John Smyth case (14 August 2019)
We remain deeply saddened by the accounts of abuse suffered by the victims of the late John Smyth, a trustee of Scripture Union from 1971 - 1979. That such acts were carried out by an individual who had been associated with Scripture Union is a matter of profound and sincere regret for us.
We maintain high standards of safeguarding for the children and young people in our care and continue to handle all cases with the utmost seriousness. Our commitment is to learn from what has happened in the past and continue to develop our safeguarding policies and practices. We have contributed to arrangements for independent counselling support for those affected by this case.
Having reviewed the Terms of Reference for the Church of England review, we decided not to participate and instead intend to conduct an independent review to learn lessons from our past connections with John Smyth. Initial extensive searches of our records show very little relevant information regarding the way in which the Iwerne camps were conducted in the 1970s and 80s.
Counselling support (updated February 2019)
Scripture Union partners with the Church of England to provide independent counselling support for alleged victims/survivors of abuse by John Smyth.
Scripture Union is deeply disturbed by news reports of abuse of boys and young men by John Smyth. Since these events were reported in the media we have discovered that John Smyth was a trustee of Scripture Union from 1971 to 1979. That such abuse should have been committed by an individual connected to Scripture Union is a matter of profound and sincere regret for us and something for which we apologise wholeheartedly. Details of independent counselling support and how to access it can be found here.
Scripture Union understands that the Hampshire Police have concluded their criminal investigation into the abuse without bringing charges against anyone but that civil proceedings against a third party are now pending. Scripture Union is not aware of the detail of these proceedings or when they are likely to be concluded. Scripture Union intends to conduct an independent review with a view to endeavouring to learn lessons from its connection with John Smyth and ensuring that these lessons are reflected in its safeguarding policies and practices.