Published: 17:28, 20 May 2021
| Updated: 17:36, 20 May 2021
The Bishop of Dover has voiced her support of a project to encourage people abused within the Church to come forward.
The Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin Bishop of Dover backed the Canterbury Diocese's work in the national Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2).
The first PCR was launched in 2007, but as past survivors were not invited to be involved, the PCR2 was launched to change that. It was paused in 2020 because of Coronavirus.
Now work is underway in all 42 dioceses of the Church of England in reviewing the Church's handling of safeguarding cases, with a key focus on listening to survivors who want to come forward.
Thanks to the progress of the vaccine programme and the easing of lockdown restrictions independent reviewers are now finally able to restart their work with a view to be able to have a draft report ready in the summer.
Part of their work is to hear the views of survivors of abuse within the Church of England and people are being encouraged to share their experiences in the knowledge that they will be listened to and treated with respect.
Bishop Rose said: "We must never get complacent.
"Apologies alone won't make our Church safer. We must resolve to learn, to listen and to change so that we can create safer spaces for all in our communities..."
"The Church has a responsibility to respond well to people who have suffered abuse - whether that's in a church context or elsewhere.
"There have been times when we have failed in this responsibility - and for that we are deeply sorry. But apologies alone won't make our Church safer.
"We must resolve to learn, to listen and to change so that we can create safer spaces for all in our communities."
Fiona Coombs, the Canterbury Diocesan safeguarding adviser said: "We will always have lessons to learn when it comes to safeguarding.
"One of the issues that the Church has struggled the most with over the years is listening and responding well to victims and survivors of abuse.
"We are committed to improving our work in this area, but we can't do that without the contributions of people who have the courage to share their experiences with us.
"We therefore want to encourage anyone who may have information about church related abuse to know that there are people you can talk to and you will be taken seriously.”
n People who would like to share their experiences are invited to get in touch directly with the independent reviewers Carol Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org and Adrienne Plunkett at email@example.com .
Anyone who is worried about a child or vulnerable adult or any issue that might be related to safeguarding issue can also contact Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers Paul Brightwell (firstname.lastname@example.org 07398 009951) and Fiona Coombs (email@example.com 07548 232395). However, recognising that this may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the church, a dedicated telephone helpline - 0800 80 20 20 - operated independently from the Church, by the NSPCC, has been set up.