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Authorised Listeners

by Michael Ford last modified 10 Aug, 2020 11:32 AM

Those who have been abused by members of the Church of England, clergy or lay employees, can be put in touch with people who can listen, help and, most importantly, believe them.


In the Church of England

In 2011 The House of Bishops’ (HofB) produced ‘Responding Well to Those Who Have Been Sexually Abused: policy and guidance for the Church of England’ (Responding Well). They stated:

“Each diocese should appoint carefully chosen, competent and trained people who will be able to be ‘authorised  listeners’ for those who disclose, in  particular for those who disclose abuse  from within the church community.” (Page 5)

In this diocese

Salisbury now has a scheme to put people who have been abused by members of the Church of England, clergy or lay employees, in touch with people who can listen to them and help them and most importantly, believe them.

The procedure of identifying an individual who would like to use the services of a listener will probably (although not always) start at parish level. All clergy and Parish Safeguarding Representatives have been made aware of the Authorised Listener service.

When there is an approach for a listener, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser will be informed and access to a listener arranged. Part of this procedure will need to ensure that the individual requiring a listener does not personally know the listener allocated.

A maximum of three sessions will be arranged initially. We have listeners in Wiltshire and Dorset and can make sure that people are seen quickly. Appointments take place in neutral venues.

Other organisations

In addition to the Authorised Listener Scheme there are other independent organisations who will help people who have been abused.

Abuse Survivors provides information, advice and support to those affected by abuse. Run and staffed by volunteers. Website here.

NAPAC (The National Association for People Abused in Childhood) supports people who suffered any sort of abuse as a child, not just sexual abuse. Information is available here.

The Survivors Trust is a national umbrella agency for over 135 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. It provides advice and information about other helplines available. Their website is here.

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