Survey: Survivors of abuse invited to help improve Church of England safeguarding

Safeguarding expert, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), is working with the Church of England to improve how the Church treats people who have been abused or are at risk of harm.

SCIE is seeking the views of people with first-hand experience to find out what a good response from the Church should look like. The results of this survey will complement learning from an independent audit by SCIE of safeguarding arrangements in all 42 dioceses across England.

Anonymised results received by 30 June 2018 will be used at a General Synod discussion in early July, and will be published by SCIE later in the summer. SCIE will continue to accept responses to the survey after 30 June. All responses will be treated confidentially.

The Church has an obvious responsibility for anyone who has been abused by people who work for the Church, whether clergy, lay officers or volunteers. The Church also has a wider commitment to keep everyone involved in Church activities safe, including people who have been abused outside Church settings and turn to the clergy for pastoral support, and those who feel unsafe for any other reason.

The aim of this survey is to learn from survivors and victims of abuse and neglect, as well as from people who may be particularly vulnerable to harm. It is focused on how to improve the Church’s practice when people come forward with safeguarding concerns. SCIE fully appreciates that survivors will have painful experiences and strong feelings about their personal cases. It is not to gather survivors’ testimonials of past or current experiences of Church responses. Instead we are striving to hear survivors’ views and perspectives of what should happen at different stages of engagement.