If you have been affected by abuse within the church and you would like information about accessing appropriate support. A list of people and organisations who can help you can be found below the purple box.

The Church of England is seeking applications from those who have experienced any form of abuse or harm to join the National Redress Scheme Victim and Survivor Working Group. This working group is a body that will bring together key stakeholder representatives to provide experience and advice in connection with the development of the National Redress Scheme. The engagement of representatives as part of the Group will be paramount in the development of the Scheme to ensure those affected by abuse, harm or neglect by the Church access the right care and support as early as possible. Find more details HERE(16/07/2021)


Survivor Care Strategy Diocese of Lincoln

This Strategy should be read alongside ‘Responding well to those who have been sexually abused practice guidance’ (2011). This practice guidance is currently under review and an updated version will be available in due course.

 

Role of Advocate for Survivor Care

 

The Diocese of Lincoln is committed to ensuring that the voices of victims and survivors of church related abuse are heard and responded to in a trauma informed manner. Gemma Marks-Good, our Diocesan Safeguarding Advocate, is a fully accredited ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Adviser). She has many years of experience working within high risk domestic and sexual abuse services and Diocesan/National Safeguarding Teams. Should a referral to Gemma Marks-Good be requested a copy of the below support letter is made available.

 

I am a Safeguarding Advocate. My role is to provide practical and emotional support and assistance to victims/survivors of violence and abuse within a church context, regardless of whether the assault took place recently or in the past. Whilst I am employed by the Diocese of Lincoln, I have the role of an Independent Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocate.

I recognise that it can be extremely difficult to seek support following an assault and that for some, the thought of seeking justice through the courts or any formal process is too much to cope with.  Therefore, the support I can offer to you is unconditional.  You do not have to be seeking a justice outcome or making a complaint or seeking civil redress to access my support.  I can support you in exploring any or all of these options or just by being a listening ear and acting as an advocate to get the right support in place for you.  You choose how we work together.

 

The type of work I can do with you includes:

  • Helping you assess any risk that you and others might be facing and then helping you to develop safety and support plans that are individual to your needs.
  • Supporting you to report an assault to the police if you choose to do so.
  • Supporting you in seeking civil redress or in making a complaint through internal mechanisms that address the conduct of the person who harmed you.
  • Attendance with you at any police interviews, court proceedings or complaints meetings.
  • Help with accessing other services such as health screening and counselling.
  • Helping you understand better the criminal justice and court process.
  • Helping you understand better the church-based complaint route.
  • Regular and ongoing telephone contact and/or face-to-face meetings
  • Helping you have your voice heard so that if your aim is to share your experience to better inform church practice or ensure better support of others, you are heard in the right forums and your anonymity and confidentiality are protected.

 

I offer confidential and impartial advice.  No information you provide will be shared without your consent unless the information you tell me suggests that there continues to be a risk of serious harm.  Where there is a Police investigation I am legally obliged to share some factual information.  I will discuss this with you in more detail during our first appointment and we can sign an agreement as to how I support you and how your privacy is protected.

Gemma is employed 4 days a week for the Diocese, working on Tuesdays in a similar role for the Church of England National Safeguarding Team. All engagement and support plans will consider individual needs, accessibility and information with the aim to provide the support that is most appropriate. Plans may include risk assessments, referrals and safe exit plans.

Gemma offers advice and support to the Diocesan Bishop and his Senior staff clergy and church officers about all aspects of abuse within a church context. The diocese strives to work in a trauma informed manner. All work with all people affected by abuse and trauma needs to look unlike and be opposite of abuse, otherwise it can inadvertently explicate the dynamics of abuse and cause harm.

 

Referral Pathway for Survivor Advocate Support

Direct (self referral) or via Diocesan Safeguarding Officers (DSO), Safeguarding Officers (SGO), Lay or Ordained Ministers, Police and external agency.

Gemma Marks-Good is available 4 days a week (non-working day is Tuesday) and can be contacted via Phone:  07487 242910 or email: [email protected]

 

Reporting Abuse

The Diocese of Lincoln is fully committed to victim and survivor care and the welfare of children and adults at risk of abuse. The diocesan website provides local and national contact information,   guidance and support information to those coming forward disclosing harm. Providing survivors with a range of options of support,  alongside or instead of the Survivor Advocate. The Diocese of Lincoln recognises that for many, the support they seek would need to be external from church structures:

Victim Lincs:

Victims Lincs Is an independent secular support organisation that puts victims at the heart of what they do.  It was established by the Police and Crime Commissioner in Lincolnshire to ensure that anyone living, working or studying in Lincolnshire gets the support they need if they have been the victim of crime, regardless of whether they choose to report the crime to the police or not. They seek to ensure that victims are aware of their rights, have access to support and a say in what that support is.

As it is separate from the police Victim Lincs is not involved in the crime investigation

Support available:

  • Free, confidential advice and guidance either by telephone or email from a specially trained team who can provide a listening ear to talk to victims about how they are feeling
  • Advice on the support options available
  • Referral to other organisations if you feel you would like more support or to be provided with their contact details
  • directory of the different support services available depending on your circumstances.

Victim Lincs can be contacted via: https://victimlincs.co.uk/ or on 01522 947510. This helpline is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Safe Spaces:

Safe Spaces is an independent source of support for anyone who feels they have experienced church related abuse of any form in England or Wales. This may have been in relation to the Church of England, Catholic Church in England and Wales or the Church in Wales. A specialist national helpline has been set up to operate independently of the church.

 

From September 23, new callers wishing to receive support through Safe Spaces will be supported through the interim provider, Splitz Support Service. Splitz Support Service has been providing advocacy services for over 30 years, and has previous experience in supporting victims and survivors of Church-related abuse. This interim service will be available via telephone and email. The phone line will remain the same 0300 303 1056 From September 23 the email address will be [email protected]

 

 


Past Cases Review 2 (known as PCR2)

The Church of England is requiring each diocese to commission an independent review of all clergy and church officers' files. This is to ensure that all known recent and non-recent safeguarding concerns in relation to children and adults, have been appropriately managed and reported. This process is known as Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2).  More detailed information about PCR2 can be found following this link https://www.lincoln.anglican.org/03-pcr2-review .

Part of this review invites all those who have experienced abuse by a church officer to have their story and voice heard by independent reviewers of the Church’s safeguarding processes.  Please click HERE for more information.

Please click HERE for the Diocese's Survivor Support Strategy.


Other secular services <please follow this link>