Getting Support Useful Documents The Goddard EnquirySafe SpacesOpen Seminars

I am being abused by someone in the Church. What should I do?

 Please tell someone as soon as possible. What you say will be taken seriously.

If you have any concerns about your immediate safety, you should contact the police on 999 or your local social services department.

Otherwise, you can chose who you talk to including the Safeguarding Co-ordinator, who is available at any time by mobile on 07909 117964, or your own parish’s Local Safeguarding Representative.

A list of names and telephone numbers for the Local Safeguarding Representatives can be found on the Meet the Team Page.

Alternatively, you may prefer to tell someone in the Church that you already know, such as a priest or a youth leader. They will make sure that you get help. They need to let one of the above people know if there is a child or adult protection matter to be dealt with.

It is the policy of the Catholic Church to always inform statutory authorities (Police and Social Services) that abuse has been alleged. This is done in order to prevent further abuse from happening and to make sure that past abuse is properly dealt with.

It is best not to let the abuser know you are going to talk to someone about the abuse as they may attempt to interfere. This could prevent you from getting help for yourself or helping to stop someone else being abused by the same person.

I have suffered abuse by someone in the Church in the past. What should I do?

Understandably, many people find it difficult to tell anyone about the abuse they have experienced.  It may be many years after the event before a disclosure is made. Whenever you choose to tell, you will be listened to and what you have to say will be taken seriously. 

There are some people in the Church who have special responsibility for safeguarding. Details of your Diocesan Safeguarding Team can be found via the relevant Diocesan website (available under the “Links” page of this site).

Alternatively, you may prefer to tell someone in the Church that you already know such as a priest or a youth leader. Hopefully, they will make sure that you get help.  They need to let one of the above people know that there was a child protection matter to be dealt with. 

If you have any concerns about responses to anything you say about experiences of abuse, the Safeguarding Commission or Clergy Advisor would be glad to hear from you.

How does the Church support those who have experienced abuse?

In the past there have been people who have been abused by Church personnel and who found the response of the Church to be inadequate and uncaring. The Church is committed to continuing to learn how to respond in a supportive and healing way to the needs of those who have suffered abuse. 

The Church has a National Policy for the Support of Those Affected by Allegations of Abuse Within a Church Setting, available from, section 3.4.  This policy embodies the pastoral responsibility of the Church towards those affected by abuse and seeks to ensure that the support needs of all those affected by abuse are effectively addressed.

Here at the Hallam Diocese, we have a team of independent registered counsellors who are able to work with individuals on a vast number of issues, including for those who have experienced abuse.  For more information please visit the Caritas – Counselling Section of the Diocesan Website which can be found on this link

Safe Spaces is also an independent organisation which provides support to those who have experienced church based abuse. For more information please visit the Safe Spaces section which can be found at


A list of useful resources, books and websites.

Developing a better understanding of the impact of sexual abuse in childhood on adults.

The myths and stereotypes surrounding abuse.

The Goddard Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is now launched and a report will be expected by 2020. For further details about the Terms of Reference and how the Catholic Church will be involved, please link directly to the website at, which provides a very clear explanation of the enquiry and the processes surrounding it, especially the evidence gathering structures, and the victims and survivors consultative panel.

Please see link for developments with Goddard Inquiry announced on the 11th November 2015.

The purpose of the Goddard Enquiry is to:

Consider the extent to which State and non-State institutions have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation; to consider the extent to which those failings have since been addressed; to identify further action needed to address any failings identified; to consider the steps which it is necessary for State and non-State institutions to take in order to protect children from such abuse in future; and to publish a report with recommendations.

In doing so to:

• Consider all the information which is available from the various published and unpublished reviews, court cases, and investigations which have so far concluded;

• Consider the experience of survivors of child sexual abuse; providing opportunities for them to bear witness to the Inquiry, having regard to the need to provide appropriate support in doing so;

• Consider whether State and non-State institutions failed to identify such abuse and/or whether there was otherwise an inappropriate institutional response to allegations of child sexual abuse and/or whether there were ineffective child protection procedures in place;

• Advise on any further action needed to address any institutional protection gaps within current child protection systems on the basis of the findings and lessons learnt from this inquiry;

• Disclose, where appropriate and in line with security and data protection protocols, any documents which were considered as part of the inquiry;

• Liaise with ongoing inquiries, including those currently being conducted in Northern Ireland and Scotland, with a view to (a) ensuring that relevant information is shared, and (b) identifying any State or non-State institutions with child protection obligations that currently fall outside the scope of the present Inquiry and those being conducted in the devolved jurisdictions;

• Produce regular reports, and an interim report by the end of 2018; and

• Conduct the work of the Inquiry in transparent a manner as possible, consistent with the effective investigation of the matters falling within the terms of reference, and having regard to all the relevant duties of confidentiality.

A letter from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Conference of Religious states “As a Church in these countries, we acknowledge our history in the arena of child sexual abuse; but we also have a compelling story to tell of how we have addressed these issues through our safeguarding reviews by Lord Nolan and Baroness Cumberledge and the ongoing work of the NCSC and CSAS.”

The Safeguarding Commission is aware that the enquiry may raise issues for many individuals within our communities. Anyone who has any queries or concerns can contact the safeguarding office on 0114 2566453.

If you have any ideas for seminar topics you would find helpful or would like to have considered, please contact Jo Pearson, the Safeguarding Administrator, on 0114 256 6453 or by email to .