Support for survivors and victims

We aim to provide caring, practical and helpful support for all victims and survivors

The Diocese of Liverpool is committed to providing care and support for those affected by church related abuse.  We aim to:

1.  Provide a safe culture and space that promotes disclosures

How will we do this?

  1. Use a variety of methods to provide clear information how to report abuse within the church context, e.g. Diocesan Website, training events, workplace inductions, posters.  Ensuring where applicable, communications are translated into the main languages commonly spoken by regular worshippers so that people who do not use English as their first language understand it.
  2. Communicate clearly and promptly and ensure there are available support options for victim/survivor following disclosure.
  3. Ensure the victim/survivor understands how the information disclosed will be processed and shared with (where applicable) statutory agencies.
  4. Inform the victim/survivor how to report to the statutory agencies themselves if they do not wish to contact the Diocese to disclose.
  5. Share contact details for national support networks.

2. Provide a Relational Survivor Centered Approach

How will we do this?

  1. Support the victims and survivors to explore options and their particular needs using a person-centered non-directive approach.
  2. Promote close collaboration between the victim/survivor, the Diocesan Safeguarding Team and other agencies to ensure an integrative approach.
  3. Agree a clear care plan with victim/survivor and ensure that it is put in place to avoid fragmentation.
  4. Allocate a suitably trained support person and/or spiritual support.
  5. Make available competent mental health support - qualified, experienced and with up to date knowledge.   Ensure a non-directive approach which allows an individual to choose support from an approved register.
  6. Ensure that there is a clear and agreed exit strategy and that boundaries are maintained to avoid confusion, dependency and role drift between agencies and mental health professionals.
  7. Ensure there is a good process or plan which is implemented, documented and accountable and has transparent clear aims, objectives and outcomes.
  8. Maintain accountability for implementing agreed actions to ensure that we do what we say we will do.
  9. Ensure good communication with victims and survivors following serious case reviews and the formulation of new safeguarding policy and procedures.  This will include representation from survivors' groups on the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP).
  10. Align and work closely with the criminal and civil processes, statutory agencies and support organisations.

3.  Provide Therapeutic Support

How will we do this?

  1. We will ensure any therapist offered by the Diocese will be appropriately qualified and registered with the requisite professional body and experienced in dealing with victims of abuse.
  2. The choice of therapist will be for survivor/victim to decide subject to (1) above.
  3. We will enusre that there are clear boundaries and any support will meet immediate and medium-term needs (not long-term needs) and will be arranged as quickly as is practicable in the cirumstances.
  4. Any decision to end this support will be based on a review of the needs of the survivor or victim rather than on an arbitary end-date.  This review must include the victim's or survivor's views of their needs.  In case of children and young people, the review will include their parents (or guardians) unless they are implicated in the safeguarding concerns or other compelling and justifiable reason not to do so.
  5. We note that any communications and contracting with a therapist needs to comply with the UK data protection law (e.g. data processing agreement) and appropriate legal advice is sought.
  6. We note that where the victim/survivor is working with Police and Crown Prosecution Service any theraphy and/or support will be in accordance with pretrial guidelines.
  7. Where appropriate, legal and permitted by the victim/survivor we will request feedback from the victim/survivor to ensure ongoing quality of service.

4.  Involve victims/survivors in the development and review of services

How will we do this?

  1. We will identify and appoint a victim/survivor to the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP).
  2. We will provide and opportunity for survivors to be heard without judgement or stigma.
  3. We will invite feedback from survivors/victims to ensure any services offered on behalf of the Diocese are suitable, efficient and cost effective.
  4. We will seek views of survivors/victims when undertaking a serious case review.
  5. The DSA will seek and accept invitations from survivor groups to share good practice and views on Diocesan safeguarding matters.
  6. Identify safe spaces and group settings for individuals with lived experience of abuse to participate and engage with other stakeholders on work relevant to safeguarding and culture change.

5.  Ensure an appropriately trained workforce

How will we do this?

  1. The Diocese will continue to follow and deliver national safeguarding training framework with particular emphasis on clergy and church leaders.
  2. The safeguarding training lead will establish a network of volunteers to assist in the delivery of mandatory and bespoke training sessions with the aim to expand the reach to as many church officers as possible.
  3. The safeguarding team will identify particular needs and deliver bespoke training to support Clergy and Church Officers.
  4. The Diocesan safeguarding team will demonstrate continual professional development and ensure training is in line with current best practice.
  5. At a local level and where appropriate victims/survivors will contribute to the development and/or delivery of training and provide feedback.

This strategy has been developed in conjunction with the National Safeguarding Guidance Responding Well to Victims and Survivors of Abuse

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, Church in Wales or the Catholic Church of England and Wales. 

Safe Spaces 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.

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.

Find out how to access support here:

Finding support

Contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team: 
Andy Holmes, Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
tel: 07940 378139 or email:

Michael Murphy,  Deputy Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
tel:07376 431466  or email:

Karen Williams, Assistant Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser                                                                                                                                        tel: 07946 189061 Email:

The Safeguarding Team are not available 24 hours a day. Therefore here are the contact details of other agencies that are available to assist either on a 24-hour basis or through specialist helplines and services:

NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are worried about a child.

Child-line: 0800 1111 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are a child or young person and are worried about anything.

National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 ((lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are experiencing domestic abuse.

Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 (open 24 hours). Phone if you feel you are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to.

Action on Elder Abuse Helpline: 080 8808 8141 ( freephone Monday to Friday 9-5 pm)

Sexual Violence Support WebsiteFind Specialist Support in The North West - Sexual Violence Support





Powered by Church Edit