Statement from Lord Hope issued through Bradford Diocese where he is assistant bishop:
Throughout my time as bishop and archbishop I always adhered to the statutory practices of the Church of England concerning safeguarding.
I strenuously deny (and am obviously disappointed at) the suggestion that myself or my team at the time would have acted negligently in this or any other safeguarding matter.
Under the Church of England's 1999 Policy on Child Protection which was in effect at the time (but which has subsequently been reviewed) Paragraph 31 states:
There is no automatic legal obligation on the Church to refer allegations by adults to the police or social services. However it is essential to consider whether children may still be at risk from the abuser or alleged abuser and, if so, to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to safeguard them, and these will involve reporting the matter to the social services or the police."
In considering whether children would be at risk from Robert Waddington I decided under these guidelines that this would not be the case given his serious ill health following cancer surgery.
The following year I revoked Robert Waddington’s permission to officiate. He died two years later. The 1999 Policy on Child Protection, which was considered best practice at the time, has been revised since 1999 in line with current understanding - as is the case in many other public organisations with a duty of care.
I am deeply aware of the pain caused to any victim of child abuse, especially at the hands of a trustworthy person within the church. I do encourage any person who believes they have been a victim of abuse to come forward and to inform the police.