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Survivor Support

The Diocese of Lincoln will provide person centred, trauma informed support for all victims and survivors of abuse

The Diocese of Lincoln will respond compassionately and positively to the needs and requests of those who have been physically, sexually, emotionally, financially or spiritually harmed. The below information and resources should be read in conjunction with guidance “Responding Well to Victims and Survivors of Abuse”. An easy-read summary of the guidance is now available on the Church of England website here

The Diocese of Lincoln Survivor Strategy is a co-produced, working document that will be reviewed and improved upon through ongoing survivor engagement and the naturally evolving changes in culture and lived experience within the diocese. 

If you or someone you know, have been affected by abuse within the church and you would like information about accessing appropriate support please find information on our Resources page.

Survivor Engagement

The role of the Advocate in 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. 
  • Support in accessing The Interim Support Scheme (immediate help and support to survivors whose life circumstances are significantly affected by the abuse suffered to address immediate and urgent needs that help in the short-term to put the survivor’s life back on track). 

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.