Survivor voices ‘must be heard’ in Church safeguarding review

Victims and survivors of church-related abuse are being encouraged to come forward as part of a safeguarding review currently underway in the Diocese of Rochester.

The Diocese, covers the area of Medway, north and west Kent and the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley

Called the ‘Past Cases Review’, its purpose is to help establish whether all known cases of concern about the behaviour of clergy and church officers towards children and vulnerable adults, have been considered, risk assessed and dealt with appropriately.

It’s also a vital opportunity to learn about those matters that have not been previously known about, to engage with victims and survivors to ensure their voice is heard, and to offer support.
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff says:
“The fact that abuse has ever happened within our Diocese is a matter of deep shame.
“It is vitally important that those who have a concern about something they have experienced in a church or any diocesan related activity, now or in the past, feel able, if they wish, to contribute to the Past Cases Review.

"Their voices must and will be heard.”
Independent reviewers appointed from a National Church approved list, are currently carrying out a comprehensive review of the files held by the Diocese; all parishes are required to take part, as well as the Diocesan Office, the Bishop’s Office and Rochester Cathedral.
Reviews are also taking place across all 42 dioceses that make up the Church of England and are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
The Venerable Julie Conalty, Bishop’s Lead for Safeguarding at the Diocese of Rochester and the Archdeacon of Tonbridge says:
“We appreciate that this Past Cases Review will only be meaningful if those who have a concern about something they have experienced in a church, now or in the past, have their voice heard.
“We therefore want to encourage anyone who may have information about church-related abuse to know that there are people you can talk to and you will be taken seriously.”

Whether your experience is current or non-recent, whether you are concerned about the safety of a person right now – perhaps a child or vulnerable adult – or whether you want to highlight poor safeguarding practice, you are encouraged to get in touch.
Please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding team on 01634 560 000, or find further details here.
Understanding that this may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse, a dedicated telephone helpline, operated independently by the NSPCC, is also available on 0800 80 20 20.
Your contact will be treated in the strictest confidence and you can remain anonymous if you wish.

Additional helplines offering a variety of support to victims and survivors are also available here, on the Church of England's website.

Anyone who considers they are in immediate danger, should please call 999. 

Visit our Past Cases Review page here

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