Safeguarding

Support for Victims and Survivors

Our Safeguarding Service is a safe point of contact for survivors and victims of abuse within the Catholic Church. We support survivors who were abused when they were children and those who have been abused as adults.  We recognise that speaking out about abuse can be very difficult and distressing and you may not have felt able to tell anyone before. We are here to support you to share your experiences.

What you can expect when you contact us

  • We will give you space to share your story and time to talk at your own pace.
  • It is up to you what and how much you share depending on what you are comfortable with.
  • We will listen in a way that is built on a foundation of respect for you.
  • We may ask you some questions to better understand your experiences.
  • We will talk with you about different support options available.
  • We will let you know what will happen next and arrange a convenient time to contact you again.

We refer all disclosures of abuse to statutory agencies (Police, Children and Adults social care) in line with the CSSA guidelines, however it can remain anonymised if you wish. We do this to protect other children and adults from harm.  Even if you were abused a long time ago, your abuser might still be working with children or adults and we want to make sure they are not at risk.  Any referrals to statutory agencies will be made in discussion with you and you will be able to choose whether or not you consent to a police investigation.

Our Commitment to Survivors

We are aware that talking to someone who works for the Diocese about abuse you experienced within the church may feel daunting or you might not feel that you can trust us.  Please be assured that everyone who works in the Safeguarding Office has made a commitment to survivors of abuse and are dedicated to ensuring you are heard and that children and vulnerable adults are kept safe.

Clifton Diocese Safeguarding Privacy Notice

Clifton Diocese Safeguarding Privacy Notice Summary

Survivors and victims Strategy

If you don’t feel ready to talk yet, then there are other agencies that can support you:

  • macsas.org.uk  – MACSAS supports women and men who have been sexually abused, as children or adults, by ministers, clergy or others under the guise of the Church.
  • Grief to Grace UK – Healing the wounds of abuse – Founded in Pennsylvania in 2006, Grief to Grace now ministers in several dioceses in the USA, Canada and Kingston, Jamaica. With the support of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, The Most Reverend Peter Smith, the program was first piloted in the UK in 2011 and established as a UK charity in 2014.
  • The Survivors’ Trust  – The Survivors Trust (TST) is a UK-wide national umbrella agency for 130 specialist organisations to support the impact of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse throughout the UK and Ireland.
  • One in Four –  Supporting people who have experienced child sexual abuse and trauma
  • NAPAC  – the National Association for People Abused in Childhood offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
  • ICAP – (Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy) is a charity providing counselling and psychotherapy, providing a space to talk with a trained and experienced professional in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental space.

Safe Spaces:

Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused by someone in the Church or as a result of their relationship with the Church of England, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales.

Safe Spaces Helpline: 0300 303 1056, Monday to Friday: 09:00-21:00, Saturdays: 09:00-13:00, Sundays: 13:00-17:00. Safe Spaces is delivered by First Light.

The Green House:

The Green House is a specialist support service for children, young people and families who have experienced sexual abuse. At the Green House they believe in creative evidence-based support services led by the voices of young people and their families. Their specialist services are designed to grow connection and community with families who have experienced sexual abuse – https://the-green-house.org.uk

The Flying Child is a survivor-led, non-profit organisation, founded by Sophie Olson – a survivor of intrafamilial CSA.  Their core aim is to normalise speaking about child sexual abuse, in society, in professional settings and within the survivor community itself – https://theflyingchild.com

Your Personal Information

To read about how the Diocese will deal with your personal information, please read the Privacy Statement.

Resources and Links for Survivors

Domestic Abuse Support:

  • Refuge – Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 200 0247 – www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk
  • Safe In Faith – Support for Survivors of Domestic Abuse – safeinfaith.org.uk
  • Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline – 0800 027 1234 – sdafmh.org.uk
  • Karma Nirvana runs a national honour-based abuse helpline. – 0800 5999 247 – support@karmanirvana.org.uk
  • Hestia provides a free mobile app, Bright Sky, which provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.
  • Imkaan is a women’s organisation addressing violence against black and minority women and girls.
  • SignHealth provides domestic abuse service support for deaf people in British Sign Language (BSL). – 020 3947 2601 – da@signhealth.org.uk
  • Chayn provides online help and resources in a number of languages about identifying manipulative situations and how friends can support those being abused.
  • Cedar – Catholics experiencing domestic abuse resources – www.cedar.uk.net
  • Respect Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 802 4040 – www.respectphoneline.org.uk
  • Men’s Domestic Abuse – 0808 801 0327 – www.mensadviceline.org.uk
  • Mankind – 01823 334244 – www.mankind.org.uk
  • Live Fear Free helpline (Wales) – 0808 80 10 800 – www.livefearfree.gov.wales

Child Abuse Support:

Sexual Abuse Support:

  • Sexual Assault Referral Centres provide advice and support services to victims and survivors of sexual assault or abuse.
  • Rape Crisis (England and Wales) – 0808 802 9999 – www.rapecrisis.org.uk
  • Scottish Women’s Aid – 0131 226 6606 – www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk
  • Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland) – 0800 917 1414 – www.womensaidni.org
  • Southall Black Sisters offer advocacy and information to Asian and Afro-Caribbean women suffering abuse
  • SurvivorsUK – support male and non-binary survivors of sexual violence, providing counselling, practical help and community on your healing journey. www.survivorsuk.org
  • Safeline – a dedicated service for men and boys in England and Wales affected by sexual violence and abuse and those who support them. www.safeline.org.uk/services/national-male-helpline

Other support links: