Survivor Care and Support
Churches can be well placed, often in the heart of our communities, to offer a safe place for survivors and victims to come and share their experiences, and the Diocese of Portsmouth is committed to responding positively and compassionately to the needs of those who have suffered abuse.
The Diocese of Portsmouth supports national guidance, and the following information should be read in conjunction with the Church of England practice guidance ‘Responding Well to those who have been sexually abused’ (2011).
The Portsmouth Diocese works in partnership with external services that specialise in supporting survivors/victims who have experienced abuse, and who can develop a programme of support and care that is centered around their needs.
We have launched a new survivor strategy in October 2022, which you can read here. This is a working document that will be updated as we continue to work alongside survivors. We are grateful for their bravery in coming forward to disclose abuse, and also their involvement in helping to shape the Church's response to safeguarding concerns.
Listening to and caring for those who have suffered abuse
The Diocesan safeguarding team is responsible for:
- Assisting all parishes where there has been a disclosure of abuse, whether it involves a member of the church community or not.
- Ensuring that any information relating to abuse is treated confidentially and shared appropriately.
- Ensuring that there are provisions of support and care in place to meet the short and/or longer term needs of survivors/victims
- Ensuring that individuals seeking support are asked what options will best meet their needs
- Offering access to support and care that is provided independently from the church context, and/or
- Making available planned pastoral care within the church context for those who want this.
The nature of any ongoing support needs will be agreed by the Diocesan safeguarding team together with the victim/survivor.
The Diocese of Portsmouth has commissioned thirtyone:eight to offer an independent Listening Service to those who have experienced abuse or have been affected by it. Should you wish to access it, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team for further information at email@example.com
National Support for Survivors
The national Church of England has now launched Safe Spaces, an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse.
This service offers support to survivors of church-related abuse whether or not a report has been made. This independent service is run by the charity Victim Support and funded by the Church of England together with the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church in Wales. It is free to access via telephone, email or web-chat.