Despite all of the protective measures we may put in place, those who are determined to exploit and abuse others can sometimes find a way to do so. If you are a victim or survivor of abuse that happened in a church setting, whether it happened today, yesterday or many years ago, in this diocese or elsewhere, and you would like to talk to someone about what happened to you, please get in touch with us.
Abuse is never the fault of the child or vulnerable person who was abused, and it is always the responsibility of a person in a position of power or trust to ensure that appropriate boundaries are maintained, and that children and other people in their care who are vulnerable to abuse or neglect are kept safe.
Please do contact us if you have any safeguarding concerns. You will be treated with courtesy and respect.
Should you have a complaint about a member of clergy, you can find our Complaints Policy and details of how to make a complaint in the downloads below.
Ways to report a concern
- Online reporting form – It is important when receiving a referral for us to have as much information as possible. As such the most effective way to report a concern is via this route. You will receive a response to a new urgent referral within 24 hours.
- Contact the team directly.
- Reporting confidentially – There may be occasions when you do not feel able to provide your personal details with a safeguarding concern. In this instance, you can write to Ben Goodhind, Safeguarding Manager, Diocese of Bath and Wells, Flourish House, Wells BA5 1FD
Out of Hours reporting
- From 1 February, the Diocese of Bath and Wells has partnered with thirtyone:eight to offer out of hours safeguarding support. They operate from 17:00 to 09:00, Monday to Friday, 07:00 to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays, bank holidays and other absences. During these times you are advised to call 0303 003 1111 for any emergency safeguarding queries. An Information Sharing Agreement between the two organisations allows for the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA) to receive a copy of the advice thirtyone:eight may offer the parish church/caller, so that appropriate follow up and support can be offered to the caller/situation, on the DSA's return to the office.
What happens next?
Once we become aware that someone has failed in their duty to protect others and maintain those appropriate boundaries, we will take action to protect you and others that may be vulnerable.
We are here to help you and will keep what you tell us confidential unless you give us permission to share it, or unless it’s clear that someone else is still at risk from the person who abused you, in which case we may need to inform the Police or Social Services. We will not publicly identify you or share any information about you without your permission.
If you would like us to, we can arrange support for you. Please contact us to discuss the options available.
We will work alongside you with other professionals such as the police to investigate the abuse, take action to protect you and others who may be at risk, and review our practices so that people will be better protected in the future.
Support for survivors of abuse
Safe Spaces is an independent charity that offers emotional support and advocacy services for victims and survivors of church related abuse.
Contact Safe Spaces via telephone on 0300 303 1056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Statutory and voluntary sector agency contacts
Please note our role is to manage safeguarding concerns within the church setting. In your roles or general life you may come across safeguarding concerns relating to other settings. Whilst we can provide some level of advice, these need to be reported to statutory agencies of which you can find details below.
If you are faced with an emergency situation please call 999.
- Somerset Safeguarding Adult Concerns - Report a concern
- Somerset Safeguarding Children Concerns - Useful Contacts and Links
- Banes Child or vulnerable adults concerns - Report a concern
Voluntary sector agencies that can also provide support include:
- Ukraine refugees Homes for Ukraine
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (lines free and open 24 hours). Phone if you are experiencing domestic abuse.
- Mental Health Crisis – (Somerset Mind line) 08001381692 (freephone) 01823276892 (local)
- Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 (open 24 hours). Phone if you feel you are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to.
- National Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999 and is open every day from 12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm.
- The Survivors Trust: 0808 801 0818 and is open Monday to Wednesday 10-7.30pm, Thursday 10-6pm and Friday 10-2pm.
- LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 email@example.com
- Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Age UK Advice Line: 0800 678 1602
- Action Fraud - Contact us
Who to contact
Ben Goodhind, Safeguarding Manager
Kate Scott, Bishops' Chaplain