“To be safe asks of others that they keep you safe.” (Bishop Simon Burton-Jones)
Between Safeguarding Sunday on the 10 October, and All Survivors’ Day, 3 November 2021, in a joint initiative with Rochester Cathedral, we marked a Safeguarding Season - a period of time to focus on and raise awareness of a number of safeguarding issues that have implications for everyone.
On this page you will find information about:
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
This Season was about starting positive conversations around safeguarding. The more we talk about safeguarding, the more it will become embedded in the way we work, worship and behave. This can only be a good thing.
It included an awareness campaign on social media, signposting to information and support organisations around issues such as:
- church-context abuse;
- gender-based violence;
- modern slavery,
- neglect or abuse of elderly people;
- financial exploitation of vulnerable people;
- peer on peer abuse; and,
- the varied contexts in which someone of any age can find themselves a victim of abuse.
It also drew attention to the needs - and the courage - of victims and survivors of abuse who are living with the scars and damage caused by abuse, but who have been brave enough to speak out against their abusers.
For this reason, we are very grateful to have had the involvement of a number of victim and survivor groups to help with the planning of the season, to ensure that the voices of those who have been abused are heard.
Bishop Simon says the Safeguarding Season is part of our commitment to creating a positive culture around safeguarding across the Diocese:
“To be safe asks of others that they keep you safe. The Church has a long and shameful history of failure when it comes to protecting the vulnerable in its midst.
“This Safeguarding Season is a small but important step we are taking towards changing the view that safeguarding is something to be relegated to a tick box exercise.
“Rather it is something we should do joyfully as a sign of mutual care and concern for one another, and as a demonstration of our understanding that everyone is valued in the sight of God.
“I am deeply grateful to those victim and survivor groups who have worked with us to make this Season possible and would encourage churches to engage with the Season where they can.”
Each week we took the opportunity to focus on a particular issue or area of abuse. We'll share films, resources, and signpost to support.
Week 1 - 10 October to 17 October: Church-context abuse
During this week we are particularly reflecting upon and highlighting organisations and resources relating to church-context abuse. Please click the links to be taken to resources
Church context abuse
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 in England and Wales or the Church in Wales. Although the churches have funded the service, it is run independently by the charity Victim Support, who are one of the leading charities providing specialist support to survivors of abuse in England and Wales.
If you have been affected, however long ago, Safe Spaces can provide you with support: www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk/
Survivors Voices is a survivor-led organisation that harnesses the expertise of people affected by abuse in order to transform society’s response to trauma and abuse. We are ‘experts by experience’, survivors of all types of abuse, experienced as a child or as an adult, turning our pain into the power to create something good. Our vision is for a safer society with support for survivors that is survivor-sensitive, survivor-empowering and services that are trauma-aware and trauma-competent.
We run peer support groups and survivor-gatherings: www.survivorsvoices.org/
Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS)
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. They support both survivors who have remained within their Christian communities and those who have left
This website offers useful resources and a telephone and email helpline for victims and survivors of Minister and Clergy sexual abuse – and for relatives of victims and survivors: www.macsas.org.uk/
MOSAC (Mothers of Sexually Abused Children)
Support for non-abusing parents and carers whose children have been sexually abused. Any adult can contact the NSPCC below. 0800 980 1958: www.mosac.org.uk/
NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)
A support line for adult victim-survivors who have suffered any type of abuse in childhood. 0808 801 0331: www.napac.org.uk/
Help for any adult concerned about a child. Their Childline service listens to and supports children, and gives them a safe space to turn to. 0808 800 5000: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/
A place for children to talk about anything. No problem is too big or too small. 0800 1111: https://www.childline.org.uk/
LittleRo.org deals supports victim-survivors of sexual assault who have reached adulthood without the trauma being released: www.littlero.org
Emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicide. Available 24 hours. 08457 90 90 90: www.samaritans.org/
Support for children, young adults and adults including those affected by sexual, emotional and physical abuse. 01708 765200: www.supportline.org.uk
The Survivors Trust
Support and advice for anyone who has experienced rape or sexual abuse. 08088 010818: www.thesurvivorstrust.org
Whether you can give just a few minutes or can dedicate your whole service they have everything you need to help plan and run an event. They can be used at anytime, as well as on Safeguarding Sunday, which takes place on Sunday 10 October, 2021
Access and download the thirty-one:eight resources
The Truth Project - The Truth Project offers victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the chance to share their experiences and be heard with respect. It is part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. All experiences shared with the Truth Project will contribute to the Inquiry’s final report with our recommendations for change. It is possible to read some of the experiences that have been shared. People are also encouraged to take part before the Project closed on 31 October 2021.
Escaping the Maze of Spiritual Abuse - The term ‘spiritual abuse’ is widely used across the Christian community. But what is it?
Sometimes spiritual abuse involves leaders misusing their position, but ministers can also be the victims. Drawing on a combination of extensive research, individual testimonies, and years of hands-on experience, Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys describe clearly the nature of spiritual abuse, and the best ways of countering it. Recovery is possible. Find it here
Antonia Sobocki - Antonia Sobocki is the founder of LOUDfence UK, an installation at which anyone may pause to attach a ribbon, message, or pray, to show solidarity with all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. During our Safeguarding Season, a LOUDfence will be present on the railings around the Cathedral. One will also be present at Carlisle Cathedral during October.
Roz Doug - Roz Doug is head of Little Ro, which offers help, hope and healing for victim-survivors of child sexual assault. Little Ro works with Survivors' Voices - who are supporting the Diocese of Rochester and Rochester Cathedral Safeguarding Season - to run peer support groups and on research and training.
Week 2 - 18 October to 24 October: Modern Slavery
As a Diocese we are working in partnership with The Clewer Initiative and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, who are resourcing us to raise awareness of modern slavery and help us to develop strategies to detect modern slavery in our communities and help provide victim support and care.
Visit our Modern Slavery and Refugees page to find out about how our Anti-Slavery Champions can support you in raising awareness of the signs of modern slavery.
We've collated a range of materials together on this issue, please view them below:
Local information - If you would like to hear about local activities, please sign up for the quarterly Diocesan newsletter by emailing email@example.com or follow the thekentishabolitionist.com blog written by one of the Diocese's Modern Anti-Slavery volunteers.
We have created a series of short films called 'What safeguarding means to me...". They explore what safeguarding means to individuals from a range of church roles and other partner organisations. A number include the thoughts of those involved in working again modern slavery across the diocese:
Diocesan Anti-Modern Slavery champion - Hear from one of our Volunteer Anti-Modern Slavery Co-Lead, Community Engagement and Social Action Team, Diocese of Rochester. Due to the nature of the work she has requested her name not be included.
Peter Sansom - Peter is Churchwarden and part of the ministry team in the Benefice of Eynsford with Farningham and Lullingstone. He also has a particular concern for the issue of County Lines.
Clewer animation 'Invisible' - A brand new animation, from The Clewer Initiative. It explores the many forms and faces of modern slavery, through the use of multiple voices, highlighting that victims can be anyone of any age, gender or nationality and gives voice to victims' stories. It challenges all of us to begin noticing the people around us. Watch it on their YouTube channel and help raise awareness by sharing the link.
Week 3 25 October to 31 October
This week we are shining a spotlight on a number of different areas of abuse and vulnerability, the organisations that can offer resources and support, and some of the key national campaigns coming up that churches can support.
Abuse and neglect can take many forms and can happen anywhere. It occurs when someone exploits another person or treats them in a way that harms or hurts them. it can happen once or on multiple occasions. People who abuse are not always strangers. They can always be: partners, relatives, a friend, neighbour or carer.
The different types of abuse are:
- Physical Abuse
- Domestic Abuse
- Honour Based Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Modern Slavery
- Financial or material abuse
- Discriminatory Abuse and Hate Crime
- Organisational Abuse
- Gender-based violence and domestic abuse
You can read more about these definitions of abuse on the Kent and Medway Adult Safeguarding Board website here
Choose a theme below to find out more about a particular organisation, resource or dedicated day:
As a Diocese, we are standing up to domestic abuse by supporting the White Ribbon UK Campaign and encouraging churches to get involved too. White Ribbon UK is part of the global movement to end male violence against women.
It invites men to make a pledge never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. Visit our dedicated page on Domestic Abuse. They also have a range of resources available to use to help get people informed about gender-based violence
White Ribbon Day takes place on 25 November each year and is also followed by the UN 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
We are offering a number of ways for churches to get involved White Ribbon Day this year. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UN 16 Days of Activism
This year, 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the Global 16 Days Campaign. Inspired by the original vision and history of the Campaign, which focused on raising awareness about violence against women (VAW), and considering the continuing impunity for femicide, this year the Campaign will focus on the issue of “femicide or the gender-related killing of women.
Anglican Communion - Focusing the lens on gender-based violence
For the 16 Days of Activism in 2021, the Anglican Communion Office is inviting young Anglicans (aged 35 and under) to submit short videos which express their perspectives of gender-based violence. Between 25 November and 10 December, they will release a selection of those videos on their official social media channels as part of our response to the 16 Days. Visit: www.anglicancommunion.org/mission/gender-justice/exposure-focusing-the-lens-on-gender-based-violence.aspx
Domestic Abuse and COVID-19: How Churches can respond: In this major resource, the Anglican Communion's Director for Gender Justice, Mandy Marshall, sets out the challenge faced by many people suffering from an increase in domestic abuse since the COVID-19 lockdowns, and sets out ways in which Churches can respond, with advice for victims and survivors and a challenge to perpetrators. This resource is available for download in a variety of languages here
Keith Berry - Keith is a Diocesan Community Engagement and Social Adviser. He is also a White Ribbon Ambassador. He explains why.
Stories of Comfort and Joy - Journey to Freedom, at St Peter and St Paul's, Bromley is a project to support women leaving refuges after having escaped a situation of domestic abuse.
National Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week
The Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board is supporting the 2021 National Safeguarding Adults Awareness week, hosted by the Ann Craft Trust.
The week aims to raise awareness on the different types of abuse or neglect and how concerns can be reported. We all have a responsibility to look after each other, but some people don’t report their concerns because they don’t know the key signs, feel it isn’t their business or don’t know who they should talk to. The result is that councils, health providers and other organisations miss out on important information that could help them protect adults from exploitation and abuse.
Adults can be at risk of different types of abuse and it can happen anywhere. This could be an adult neglecting themselves, or when someone else treats them in a way that harms or hurts them. It can happen once or on multiple occasions, People who abuse are not always strangers, they can also be partners, relatives, a friend, neighbour, or carer.
To read more about different types of abuse, and discover some of the materials being made available to raise awareness by the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board,visit:
Action on Elder Abuse
According to the organisation Action on Elder Abuse:
- Over 500,000 older people experience elder abuse in the UK and sometimes it is multiple abuse...
- Often, perpetrators are people in positions of trust, apparent 'friends' or people to whom they are related...
- Usually, victims are women over the age of 70 years, who are dependent, frail and alone...
Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) is a specialist organisation that operates across the four nations of the United Kingdom. As well as awareness-raising, it operates a free helpline 0808 8088 141 / www.wearehourglass.org
Our pioneering ministry and work with older people aims to equip churches to support older people and convey the message that people with dementia and their carers are welcome in our churches
Called Anna Chaplaincy, this ministry aims to equip churches to better support older in their congregations and communities and to ensure their spiritual and pastoral needs are met.
Find out more about how you and your church could become dementia-friendly, or support Anna Chaplaincy by visiting our dedicated Older people and dementia page
Rev Judi Hammill - The Rev Judi Hammill is curate at St James' Church and is involved with Anna Chaplaincy. She explains what safeguarding means to her as part of her concern for the welfare of older people.
The NSPCC has produced a range of resources of parents and carers, children and young people, and professionals to us keep children safe online. Find them here
UK Safer Internet Centre
UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charities with a mission to make the internet a better place for children and young people.
they have an Advice Centre full of age-related resources, a hotline for reporting and removing sexual images of children online, and they also help coordinate Safer Internet Day which will next take place on 8 February 2022.
Visit their website at: www.saferinternet.org.uk/
As part of the Season, we have produced a set of short films which are available for parishes to use to start a conversation around safeguarding in their area.
They include contributions from people and role-holders across the Diocese and Cathedral communities, as well as victim and survivor activists, as they explore what safeguarding means to them.
How to use the films
The films can be used at any time by churches, not just during the Season, to help raise awareness of the importance of creating safe environments.
You might find them useful conversations starters within your parish about how safeguarding is everyone's responsibility. We hope they will become a useful tool in helping us create a positive attitude towards safeguarding across the Diocese.
Please use them as you feel appropriate.
**To download: Click on the title of the film. Scroll down and click on the 'Download' button with an arrow.
A key part of the Season was a visual installation hosted by Rochester Cathedral called LOUDfence. Ribbons and messages tied to railings around the Cathedral were used to allow people to express their support for those who have been subject to injury by child sexual abuse and for those who are dealing with the consequences for themselves and others.
Read more here or watch this short film:
Aware that some of the issues that will be reflected upon may be a trigger for some, anyone affected is encouraged to contact the Diocese’s Safeguarding Team. Visit: www.rochester.anglican.org/safeguarding
In addition, Safe Spaces is an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse. It is free to access via telephone - 0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times), email - email@example.com, or web-chat via www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk/
A list of helplines offering support on a range of issues can be found on the Church of England’s website at: www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/reporting-abuse-and-finding-support
Lead Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser