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 [email protected].

Alternatively, the NSPCC has set up a dedicated independent hotline on 0800 802020.

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3 years ago

This is such an important and relevant issue. This subject is a difficult one but needs must bring it into the open. Victims of such abuse are likely to experience a problem with opening up. Yet needs must to bring about the healing process. The abused need to be able to trust. I would urge anyone who has suffered such abuse to find the courage to talk about their experience. It is the first step to the healing process that is so necessary for their own health, that of the Church, for the abuser and for all of us. We are One yet many. What affects one affects all. Trust is diffcult believe me I know. Yet without it we all suffer.

3 years ago

Personality disorders lead to prediters. Prediters look for the places that offer the most oppertunities. The church has, sadly, been in denial of these possibilities; even covering up some really blatant crimes. They are, of course, not the only organisation guilty of this. Strangely, we (if we count ourselves as normal?) also seem to be in denial of the wrongs done to the victims. It is almost as if we feel they are partly responsible for the mental and physical damage done them.
The mass childrens graves in Ireland should be proof enough of the magnitude. All individuals but lost in a vast crowd.
If this endeavour by the church is genuine and not a smokescreen to hide their culpability, then we’ll and good. If the church really believes the doctrine they preach it should be a root and branch exposure and future scrutiny of its members.
In this life we are rarely given true justice. This is the churches chance to treat their victims with the compassion they deserve. This does not mean the crimes will be forgiven or forgotten.