Victims and Survivors
“The Church will endeavour to offer care and support to all those that have been abused, regardless of the type of abuse, when or where it occurred. The Church is committed to continuing to learn how to respond in a supportive and healing way to the needs of those who have suffered abuse. Those who have suffered abuse within the Church will receive a compassionate response, be listened to and be taken seriously. The Church will respond to any disclosure of abuse in accordance with House of Bishops policy and practice guidance… They will be offered appropriate pastoral care, counselling and support – according to the agreed need.” ‘Promoting a Safer Church’, House of Bishops policy statement.
Safe Spaces Support Service:
Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales. ‘Safe Spaces’ was launched following the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which published its report following an investigation into the Church of England (and Church in Wales). Read the statement from the Church of England following the IICSA report.
Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates, who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence and who have received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church.
The service is for those who may have experienced any form abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse (including spiritual abuse), domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour.
Independent listening service for victims and survivors of abuse:
As part of its commitment to care for victims and survivors of abuse, the Diocese of Exeter has commissioned an Independent Listening service from First Light. First Light is a charity offering support to people who have experienced sexual abuse. It provides an attentive and attuned listening ear to assist people in talking about experiences in relation to present or past abuse. The service can assist individuals in considering the next steps, and provide support in taking them. Next steps could include reporting abuse to a statutory agency, instigating disciplinary, proceedings, seeking counselling, pastoral support or mediation. Additionally, and only where appropriate and with your agreement, First Light can enable referrals to be made to other professionals.
For further information please see our leaflet for details and contact information: Authorised Listeners leaflet.