A message from Bishop Donald
Below are extracts from an open letter from our Archbishops and national safeguarding leads.
For survivors, this will remind them of the abuse they suffered and of our failure to respond well; it will be a very harrowing time for them.
For others this report will be a reminder of the abuse they have never talked openly about.
We are truly sorry for the shameful way the Church has acted and we state our commitment to listen, to learn and to act in response to the report’s findings. We cannot and will not make excuses and can again offer our sincere and heartfelt apologies to those who have been abused, and to their families, friends and colleagues.
We, as the Church of England, are ready to support anyone who comes forward. We must honour our commitment to change.
Please pray for all those who will be affected by the publication of the report on Tuesday and that as a Church we are able to respond with humility and a shared determination to change.
The report will identify failings that we are already working to change, and failings that we will need to work harder to change. There will no doubt be strong recommendations and we welcome that. We make an absolute commitment to taking action to make the Church a safe place for everyone, as well as to respond to the needs of survivors for support and redress.
Safeguarding is valuing every person as one who is made in God’s image. It is the prevention of harm, and the promotion of well-being.
Safeguarding is fundamental to our faith. [It] is the responsibility of each one of us, guided and advised by our safeguarding professionals. Church leaders have a particular responsibility to work together to bring about the change in culture and practice that we need to see and has simply been too slow.
If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by the publication of this report and want to talk to someone independently please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are also other support services available.
Alternatively, feel free to contact the diocesan safeguarding team in your area.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell
Lead safeguarding bishop, Jonathan Gibbs
National Director of Safeguarding, Melissa Caslake
With love in Christ
We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that we take safeguarding seriously in the Diocese of Peterborough. Our Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Team, Bev Huff and Samantha Jackson, have previously worked as detectives in the police, and have vast experience in safeguarding matters. They are here to listen, hear, support and to refer matters to the police and appropriate local authorities, whom we have excellent working arrangements with. We are also aware of the courage and bravery it takes for survivors to come forward, knowing that the effects of their abuse are with them for life.
We recognise that this option may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the Church. A dedicated telephone helpline, operating independently from the Church, has therefore been set up. The number is 0800 80 20 20 and is being run by the NSPCC Helpline for Children and Adults.