It has been one year since the first diocesan Mass for victims and survivors of abuse. Much has happened during that time both within our diocese and outside! Not least of all for our diocese, we have a new Bishop.

Bishop David Oakley has continued the work and ministry of his predecessor, Bishop Peter Doyle in meeting and engaging with those who have been hurt by the actions of others.

Safeguarding remains at the heart of our diocesan mission, Bishop David says

“The Diocese of Northampton is committed to the development of good safeguarding practice. This is more than a need to do the right thing – it is a fruit of natural justice and an ecclesial need to follow in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd”

An important aspect of the development of this work is the opportunity to listen and engage with people who have been hurt by abuse. Bishop David has already met on three occasions with survivors and he continues to make himself available to anyone wishing to meet with him. Highlighting the importance of this work, Bishop David continued

“Our work with victims and survivors of abuse must be professional and of the highest quality. It is most encouraging for all of us to witness the quality service provided by the Safeguarding Office and the Safeguarding Commission of the Diocese. And more than this, through the discrete work of enabling victims and survivors to meet with the Bishop, there is a very real opportunity for those who have suffered to receive pastoral and spiritual care.”

Our diocese continues to promote the ‘A Time to Listen’ initiative, part of our diocesan response to improve the way we respond to and engage with victims and survivors. We would like to encourage anyone affected by abuse to take the opportunity to get in touch with our safeguarding team.

Nationally, we welcome the launch of Safe Spaces. 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 either the Church of England or the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

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.

It comprises a team of trained support advocates who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence and who have 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.

Telephone, Live Chat, Email and Website.

A telephone helpline and live chat facility is available from Monday – Saturday from 10am – 6pm, apart from Thursdays when the service is open 12 – 8pm.

0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times)