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Guildford Diocese Appeals to Hear From Any Victim of CofE Abuse

Published on: 25 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 27 Nov, 2020

The Diocese of Guildford wants to hear from victims and survivors of church-related abuse.

All 162 Church of England parishes in the Diocese have been asked to check their records to ensure all safeguarding concerns have been identified, reported, and properly actioned.

The appeal is part of a country-wide review. The CofE says it is committed to listening to victims and survivors. Adults, young people and children are involved but a Diocese spokesperson refused to say how many cases were recorded or even if any had been.

The 2007 previous past-cases review looked at all known safeguarding complaints made against clergy in relation to children.

This new review has been broadened to ensure all known cases of concern about the behaviour of church officers and clergy towards children and vulnerable adults have been considered, dealt with appropriately and the support needs of known victims and survivors of church-related abuse properly met.

A key part of the review is to ensure there are no outstanding and unmanaged safeguarding risks to children, young people and vulnerable adults posed by church officers and clergy.

Clergy, churchwardens and parish safeguarding officers are being asked to go back through their records and complete a declaration that all concerns and allegations have been dealt with appropriately. Any found unreported to relevant authorities are to be disclosed.

The Bishop of Guildford, The Rt Revd Andrew Watson, said: “It is important we do everything we can to make our churches the safest places they can be.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson

“Safe means different things to different people but this review will help us ensure concerns reported to our churches have been dealt with properly, and the care taken and the support given is of the high quality people rightly deserve.

“We have learnt from a previous review that survivors and victims’ voices are critical, and I would urge you to come forward.”

A spokesperson said: “Anybody who would like to give information or make disclosures about church-related abuse is asked to contact Diocesan safeguarding adviser Jackie Broadfoot (jackie.broadfoot@cofeguildford.org.uk 07918 559387).”

Alternatively, a dedicated telephone helpline 0800 80 20 20, operated independently of the Church of England by the NSPCC has been set up to make it easier for those affected to talk about what happened.

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