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Support for Survivors

Our Safeguarding Office is a safe point of contact for survivors and victims of abuse within the Catholic Church. We support survivors who were abused when they were children and those who have been abused as adults. We recognise that speaking out about abuse can be very difficult and distressing and you may not have felt able to tell anyone before. We are here to support you to share your experiences.

In this video, the Cardinal leads us in making the Stations of the Cross, remembering in our prayers especially all those who are victims and survivors of sexual abuse.

By phone – You can call 020 7798 9096 / 9186 and ask to speak to one of our Safeguarding Officers Rebecca & Frederick.

By email – You can email Rebecca & Frederick to safeguarding@rcdow.org.uk

What you can expect when you contact us

  • Rebecca or Frederick will give you space to share your story and time to talk at your own pace.
  • It is up to you what and how much you share depending on what you are comfortable with.
  • They will listen in a way that is non-judgemental and built on a foundation of respect for you and how you feel.
  • Rebecca or Frederick might ask you some questions but this is only so they can better understand your experiences.
  • They will talk with you about different support options available.
  • They will let you know what will happen next and arrange a time to contact you again to give you feedback or an update.

We refer all disclosures of abuse to statutory agencies (Police, Children’s Services, Adult’s Services) in line with the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency’s guidelines (CSSA). We do this to protect other children and adults from harm. Even if you were abused a long time ago, your abuser might still be working with children or adults and we want to make sure they are not at risk. Any referrals to statutory agencies will be made in discussion with you and you will be able to choose whether or not you consent to a police investigation.

The Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) updated National Policy for the support of those affected by allegations of abuse within a Church setting is available here.

Our Commitment to Survivors

We are aware that talking to someone who works for the Diocese of Westminster about abuse you experienced within the church may feel daunting or you might not feel that you can trust us.

Please be assured that everyone who works in the Safeguarding Office has made a commitment to survivors of abuse and are dedicated to ensuring you are heard and that children and vulnerable adults are kept safe. You can read more about our Commitment to Survivors March 2020

We also publish an information leaflet called ‘Hurt by Abuse’ which outlines what you can expect from the Safeguarding Office and the support available. Unfortunately, we are not able to send hard copies of these out by post at present due to the limitations to travel by Covid-19. We will resume this service once restrictions are lifted.

If you don’t feel ready to talk to us just yet…

…that’s totally ok. It can take time to feel comfortable to talk about abuse and only you will know when the time is right. When you do make contact, we’ll be here to listen and support you. Until then, there are a number of other organisations that provide support, advice and guidance to survivors and victims of abuse.

  1. Hurt by Abuse Leaflet  – this is the official leaflet for the Westminster Diocese which contains helpful information for survivors of abuse.
  2. Respond Listen Support - this is the official leaflet for the Westminster Diocese about support to survivors of abuse.
  3. Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors  – MACSAS supports women and men who have been sexually abused, as children or adults, by ministers, clergy or others under the guise of the Church.
  4. Grief to Grace  UK –   Healing the wounds of abuse – Founded in Pennsylvania in 2006, Grief to Grace now ministers in several dioceses in the USA, Canada and Kingston, Jamaica. With the support of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, The Most Reverend Peter Smith, the programme was first piloted in the UK in 2011 and established as a UK charity in 2014.
  5. The Survivors’ Trust  – The Survivors Trust (TST) is a UK-wide national umbrella agency for 130 specialist organisations to support the impact of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse throughout the UK and Ireland.
  6. One in Four –  Supporting people who have experienced child sexual abuse and trauma
  7. NAPAC  – the National Association for People Abused in Childhood offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
  8. ICAP – (Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy)
    is a charity providing counselling and psychotherapy. Talking with a trained and experienced professional in a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space can help people understand the causes of their distress and pain.

SAFE SPACES

Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused by someone in the Church or as a result of their relationship with the Church of England, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales.

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Disclaimer:
Throughout our section, you will find links to external websites. Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly and ensure these links are accurate, up to date, and relevant. However, the Safeguarding Department cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers.  
If you come across any external links that do not work, we would be grateful if you could report them to the web content team or at safeguardingsupport@rcdow.org.uk