Survivors of abuse in the C of E still feel threatened — and so do church staff helping them

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

SURVIVORS of abuse in a church context have described the Church’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) as a “costly, chaotic, impenetrable mess” in which confidentiality is “routinely breached”.

In a briefing document provided for members of the General Synod before they meet in London next month, the survivors summarise their own views on the safeguarding projects and processes in the Church of England.

Published on Tuesday by Andrew Graystone on behalf of 13 anonymous victims and survivors of physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse, the briefing says: “Our abusers include bishops, deans, clergy and other church employees. You will understand our scepticism when we are told that bishops, deans, clergy and other church employees are the right people to sort this out.

“We are offering you this account because we have learnt to have no confidence in the briefings that Synod members receive from the bishops or the Archbishops’ Council. You need the truth about how your safeguarding apparatus is working.”

Safeguarding is one of the final items on the agenda on the last day of the Synod — Thursday 9 February — and will include a presentation on the work of the NST. The presentation will be based on a discussion paper, which was published alongside the other Synod documents last Friday (News, 20 January). It describes safeguarding as “one of the highest priority programmes” in the C of E.

The paper points to the National Safeguarding Casework Management System, saying: “13 dioceses and the NST have access to the software and are using it to record all information pertaining to new cases.” It also refers to a recent survivor survey and newsletter to survivors and advocates. The NST is “committed to developing and implementing a survivor engagement framework with victims and survivors”, it says.

The NST paper goes on to say that “Survivors are essential part of the work of the NST, including the national Redress and Interim Support Schemes, the Responding Well to Survivors Guidance implementation group, safeguarding training delivery, communications, staff recruitment and wider consultations.”

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Survivors of abuse in the C of E still feel threatened — and so do church staff helping them

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