The Church of England’s annual safeguarding budget has risen from around £50,000 to £7 million, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
The Most Rev Justin Welby added that the church does not effectively handle complaints they receive in an interview with The Spectator.
He said: “Our budget nationally was £50,000, £100,000 a year or something like that.
“It’s now about £7 million.
“I am still very uncomfortable with the system. I think it is slow.
“We have not yet found the proper way of dealing properly with complainants and taking them seriously, listening to them, not telling them to shut up and go away, which is what we did for decades.”
In 2016 the Church of England was dealing with around 3,300 safeguarding concerns.
The archbishop described child abuse within the church as a “deeply evil act”.
He added: “Probably the greatest failure of the C of E since the since the Second World War has been our failure to deal adequately with disclosures of abuse.
“When I came into this role, I didn’t have any idea how bad it was.”
The archbishop also revealed that he is happy for Anglicans to convert to Catholicism and he regrets that the church ever split in the first place.
The Catholic church is “such a source of inspiration”, he said.
When an Anglican priest, who the archbishop described as “a very old friend”, wrote to tell him that he was converting to Catholicism, the archbishop said he replied saying: “How wonderful! As long as you are following your vocation, you are following Christ.”
Most Rev Welby added: “What we need is for people to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
“I don’t really care whether it’s the Church of England or Rome or the Orthodox or Pentecostals or the Lutherans or Baptists.
“They are faithful disciples of Christ.”