St Mary’s takes its duty to safeguard everyone very seriously. We have adopted the national Church of England’s robust procedures and guidelines. You can find out more about the national policies and procedures at: http://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding
If you have any safeguarding concerns, or issues on a safeguarding matter, then you can contact our safeguarding officer by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning the parish office on 01926 778505 and asking to speak to the parish safeguarding officer.
The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (Sarah Price) can be contacted on:
Phone number: 024 7652 1345
Cathedral and Diocesan Offices
1 Hill Top
The Diocesan Office is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday.
There is also an out-of-hours safeguarding helpline on 0303 003 1111
This helpline is operated by an organisation called Thirtyone-eight. They will offer you professional safeguarding advice, and will also forward an email message to our Diocesan Safeguarding Team. One of the team will respond to this message when they are next in the office.
If you are advised by the helpline to immediately contact your local MASH team, their number is: 01926 414144
Our Archdeacon Pastor, Sue Field, can also be contacted out of office hours on 07885 714829
Promoting a Safer Church:Safeguarding Policy Statement
The Parish Safeguarding Handbook can be found on the Coventry Diocese website: http://www.dioceseofcoventry.org/images/document_library/UDR02681.pdf
Past Cases Review
Our diocese, like other dioceses in the Church of England are currently conducting a review into how safeguarding cases have been handled in the past.
Bishop Mark Sowerby, Deputy Bishop for Safeguarding, has written:
The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. [John 1.5]
St John the Evangelist, like St Luke and St Paul, uses the imagery of light and darkness, where darkness represents concealment and shame, whereas light represents the revelation of truth. Darkness hides things that are forgotten, uncomfortable or broken and have been ‘put out of the way’ in cellars or behind closed doors. They may be things that are inconvenient or of which we are ashamed or afraid. In darkness they lie where we can forget about them, but Christ is The Light of The World and brings to light things now hidden in darkness. He brings to light those deeds that have been concealed and the victims of sins who have been silenced or kept from view. The Light shines for those who need justice and healing and upon those misdeeds that have injured them.
Allowing light to shine on what has been hidden is a first step towards healing, not only for those who have been abused, but for those whose consciences are, or ought to be, troubled by those sins they have buried away beyond the sight of others. Sometimes it will take an external prompting for those things to be opened to the light of day and to the light of Christ but with such prompting may begin the path to penitence and forgiveness, the path to healing of long-hidden wounds.
Through the Past Cases Review, we are asking you to help shine a revealing light on any instances of abuse that have occurred in your benefice and to help ensure that everything that ought to be brought into the light has been. Shining a light on what has hurt or frightened someone is a matter of justice for those who have been victims; sometimes it may also prevent further harm and sometimes it may be the first step towards healing. With that in mind, we thank you for your cooperation in working towards a safer Church.
Bishop Christopher has written to clergy:
Over the next few months our Diocese will be conducting a Past Cases Review where an independent reviewer will be looking at our safeguarding files and files relating to church officers, including those for clergy and Readers, to reassure us that all safeguarding matters have been reported and dealt with appropriately.
As part of this review I am writing to ask you to check all of your parish records to ensure that all known instances of concern about church officers either non-recent or current have been reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.
It is important that we are made aware of any concerns related to church officers and to this end I would ask that you inform your congregations about the content of this email and that you display a copy of this e-mail and the attached leaflet on your noticeboards, in your parish newsletter and on your website.
There are many demands on your time, I know, and this request will add to them in a way that may feel onerous. So please know that I am really grateful for your understanding and cooperation in undertaking this essential work which will help to ensure that our Churches are the safe places for everyone.
With much appreciation
Yours in Christ,
If you are aware of any concerns relating to church officers, please talk to Rebecca Mitchell as soon as possible.
The accompanying leaflet can be found here.