Safe Spaces: an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse
Launched in September 2020, this service offers support to survivors of church-related abuse whether or not a report has been made. This independent service is run by the charity Victim Support and funded by the Church of England together with the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church in Wales. It is free to access via telephone, email or web-chat.
Tel: 0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times)
WebChat - via the Safe Spaces website
In 2011, the House of Bishops produced the ‘Responding Well’ report, which highlighted how sexual abuse can affect adult survivors. It asked each diocese to provide support and guidance, saying:
“It is vital that our churches are safe places for people to tell their stories of abuse, and where people listen and respond well.” (Time for Action)
In response to this, our diocese has set up an Authorised Listening Service, which is now available to anyone who has been affected in this way. The listening service offers the opportunity to talk about sensitive issues with a trustworthy stranger.
A team of listeners has been recruited and authorised by Bishop John. All have experience and skills in counselling or similar and are able to provide specialist support and manage confidential information. A Listener will usually provide a series of face to face sessions, and will offer support for any next steps that are considered necessary.
The service can be requested in confidence via Parish Safeguarding Officers, clergy, or direct via the Diocesan Safeguarding team. There are leaflets available in every parish: