More than a third of priests bullied at work

More than a third of priests in the Anglican church in Scotland have been bullied, a report has found.

A survey of Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) clergy found a “negative atmosphere which can foster bullying and harassment” in the church, The Times reports.

Almost 40 per cent of respondents felt bullied within the past year, while 77 per cent felt overworked.

The findings are to be presented to the General Synod in Edinburgh early next month.

Despite the negative findings, the executive summary said: “Overall the results are positive with regards to life within the SEC.”

The Bishop of Brechin, the Right Rev Andrew Swift, said: “The responses to some of the questions — most notably the one relating to bullying and harassment — clearly indicates the need to explore more fully how and why clergy are experiencing such behaviour.

“Bullying and harassment can never be regarded as acceptable within the Church or anywhere else.

“We are encouraged that clergy have felt able to participate openly and honestly in our survey.

“The results indicate many areas in which the level of clergy wellbeing is positive but they have also identified issues which need fuller exploration. We are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to address the issues which have been raised.”

An SEC spokeswoman said: “The church’s personnel committee carried out a clergy wellbeing survey in February/March this year.

“The survey was designed as a first step in enabling members of clergy to indicate the areas which they considered the committee should focus on in the medium-term future.

“It has helpfully identified a range of issues for further consideration.”