Survivors of abuse linked to churches are being urged to make sure their voices are heard in a review being carried out by the Diocese of Lichfield.
The independent review of safeguarding cases is taking place as part of the Church of England’s Past Cases Review 2.
The Diocese of Lichfield was one of seven identified as needing to carry out further work to provide an updated version of the previous review published in 2010.
Dawn Williams, the independent chair of Lichfield Diocese’s Safeguarding Scrutiny Committee, said:
“You may have suffered abuse in a church context and not felt able to come forward, or it may be that you did report abuse and would like to share how you felt your complaint was handled at the time.
“Possibly a member of your family was abused and you want to speak on their behalf. Whatever the circumstances, the church wants to learn from your experience.
“We appreciate this may be a very difficult conversation to have so we guarantee you will be treated sensitively and can speak anonymously if you wish. You can talk directly to the independent review team or, if you prefer, an independent helpline.”Dawn Williams
Independent reviewers began work in 2019 – by the time the review finishes later this year they will have looked at over 2,000 files, spanning as far back as the 1960s.
This includes all historic safeguarding case files, concerns raised by parishes during the review and all personnel files for current and retired clergy, plus others who have ‘permission to officiate’ at churches in the diocese, and lay church officers.
People who have information or experiences that may be relevant can contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team on 01543 306030 or email safeguarding advisor Neil Spiring at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, the NSPCC has set up a dedicated independent hotline on 0800 802020.