Independent Reviewer to start work examining case files in our diocese

First published on: 17th June 2021

Alongside every diocese in the Church of England, we have been working on a comprehensive safeguarding review of past cases. This enters its next stage next week as our Independent Reviewer, Suzanne Cottrell, starts with us to carry out an independent review of our known safeguarding cases as well as clergy, Church Officer, and reader files. Suzanne will start with us on Monday June 21st. 

The review looks into the way we have handled safeguarding cases in the past making sure that records are up to date and best practice followed. Crucially it looks at what lessons we can learn and what improvements we need to make.

Suzanne Cottrell is an ideal person to carry out this review. She on the National Safeguarding Team’s approved list of Independent Reviewers and has completed the review for the Diocese of Manchester.  She is suitably experienced in terms of her independence from the Diocese of Liverpool and also by having safeguarding investigative work and risk assessment described in set PCR2 criteria.  She has held a senior safeguarding management position in a local authority for over ten years.

Due to her previous role in managing safeguarding processes for the Local Authority, she has good knowledge and practical experience of the process for handling allegations of abuse made in relation to those working with children and adults who may be vulnerable and the associated law and statutory guidance. This includes many years of experience of working with victims and multi-agency work, including risk assessment. 

When Suzanne has completed her review, she will report her findings to Sir Mark Hedley, Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Panel as well as Bishop Paul, the Bishop of Liverpool. She then sends a report to the national church which is collating information from every diocese.

Parishes and individuals have already contributed to this review by checking their records for safeguarding cases and asking key personnel for any recollection of concern.

Bishop Paul said: “The Church must be made safe for everyone, and we need to look hard and honestly at our history if we are to make it so. Safeguarding is one of my central concerns as a bishop and this review of past cases is of the utmost importance for our Diocese, as it is for the wider church. 

I thank all who have contributed to the review so far, and I strongly encourage anyone who feels they have something to add to the review to contribute. I'm grateful to our independent reviewer and as always I'm grateful to our Safeguarding team for the enormously valuable work they do for us all.

These are vital matters, and we need to grasp them with openness and honesty. Please join me, and all our colleagues in the Diocese of Liverpool, so that we can continue to improve the way we safeguard all God's people in every place.”

Find out more about the national past cases review here


Reporting past concerns

The Diocese of Liverpool is keen to make sure that survivors of abuse feel they have the ability to raise any concerns about how a case may have been dealt with. So, if you have any concerns about how your case has been dealt with then please contact

Meanwhile, it is not too late for you to contribute to the review. if you have information that you haven’t reported but wish to be part of the review then contact


Reporting a current concern

If you have a current concern then contact the safeguarding team at

The diocesan safeguarding team is committed to responding to safeguarding concerns, providing advice, and supporting survivors.  We are not able to offer an emergency or 24-hour response. 


Supporting survivors

Reporting abuse may be very difficult and distressing. Liverpool Diocese aims to deal with any contact made by a survivor/victim of abuse in a church-related context with empathy and integrity.   Click here for information about how you can get support and advice

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. Find out how to access support here.

Other support

You may wish to contact one of these 24-hour helplines to report abuse

  • 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: 08457 90 90 90 (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).


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