The Diocese of Liverpool and the IICSA Report

Bishop Paul responds to the IICSA report which was released this week

My first response is gratitude - to the members of the Inquiry for their work, and most importantly to victims and survivors for their courage in testifying.  Thank you for shining the light of truth into some very dark corners.
In the light of that truth, I add my voice to those of our Archbishops and others to say sorry - sorry to all those who have suffered the trauma of abuse and have further suffered the reluctance of church authorities to listen to you when you cried out for help. Over the past years, the Church has been working to ensure that these abuses will never happen again. That work is ongoing, and it is beginning to make a difference. I want to pay tribute to my professional safeguarding colleagues for all that they are doing. But it is clear that enormous changes in culture are still needed, and I commit myself to seeing these through. One thing we have learned over and over again is that fine words are not enough. I commit us therefore to necessary action, and I am ready, and indeed glad, to be held accountable as we go forward.
There is a great deal of work to do. As an example, we are carefully and rigorously conducting our past case review and I am determined, as my colleagues are, to make sure that we follow everything up carefully, thoroughly and sensitively.
It is clear from the report that people who have been abused haven’t felt that the Church is a safe place to speak or seek the support they need. So I am glad that the Church of England is supporting Safe Spaces, a service run by Victim Support to provide counselling, advice and support to survivors. If you need that, or know someone who does then do please visit their website at www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk 
For all of us in the Church the IICSA report will guide and resource wider conversations, for example on mandatory reporting of abuse and on the right way to have a properly independent process of scrutiny. I agree strongly with the direction of travel that the report sets out, and as well as paying close attention to its recommendations, I am committed to listening carefully to the perspectives of victims and survivors on these questions of independence and real safety.
Together with my colleagues in this Diocese I will continue to work for a church that is safe and welcoming for all, and where any form of abuse is not tolerated. We will continue to work for a church that listens to survivors and helps them rebuild their lives. The hard truths of the IICSA report show that we are still at a distance from that goal. But I am, and we are, wholly committed to reaching it.
Read the IICSA Report here
The IICSA report made 8 key recommendations about a range of issues including the Church’s response to victims and survivors, which is an absolute priority.  

Read the report here
Safeguarding matters

For more information about Safeguarding in the Diocese of Liverpool visit www.liverpool.anglican.org/safeguarding


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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.