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Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal, and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with the Church.
If you are looking through this page, it might be because something has happened to you, you are struggling and looking for help, or because you want to support someone close to you.Seeking help when you are struggling, or thinking about speaking out about any kind of abuse, can often raise all kinds of emotions. There may be many reasons why you have not spoken out before. It can feel overwhelming and frightening, but it can also be the first step towards support, healing, and recovery. You are not to blame for what happened to you.
It is your choice whom you share your experience with. You can contact Clare McKenzie, our Safeguarding Co-ordinator, for a confidential conversation, or you can contact one of the organisations below.
A telephone helpline and live chat facility is available from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm, apart from Thursdays when the service is open 12 to 8pm.0300 303 1056Answerphone is available outside of opening times.
Bishop Paul Mason, Lead Bishop on Safeguarding, welcomes the launch: “I am very pleased to announce the launch of a new service dedicated to the support and accompaniment of those who have suffered abuse within the Church, which will complement the existing support services within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.Safe Spaces, a joint Catholic/Anglican initiative, is the fruit of an ongoing collaboration between the churches who wish to reach out to and support those who have experienced such abuse.The charity Victim Support (VS) will independently manage the project with the aim of offering help to anyone who may have experienced trauma in the context of church activity. Their experience in offering support to victims of abuse, support which not only puts victims first but which is also informed by their experience, is a great step in helping us to hear and respond in a more concrete way to their needs.”
Although the churches have funded the service, it is run independently by the charity Victim Support, who are one of the leading charities providing specialist support to survivors of abuse in England and Wales.Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence. The team has received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had, or still have, a relationship with the church.The service is for those who may have experienced any form of abuse, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, psychological abuse (including spiritual abuse), domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour.The team is based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, but it is a national service providing remote support through the helpline, live chat service, and website. Remote support is provided for as long as the survivor needs. This support can be advocating for the survivor, giving them support, providing information (including information on church and police procedures), understanding individual needs, and jointly working on individual support plans. If face-to-face support is also required, contact and referrals will be made with appropriate local organisations depending on need.