Victim Support (VS) has today (29 September) launched its new service, Safe Spaces, a joint Anglican and Catholic Church in England and Wales (CCEW) project to provide a vital support service for survivors of church-related abuse.

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, the Catholic Church of England and Wales or the Church in Wales.

The service comprises a team of trained support advocates, who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence. They have received 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.

Diana Fawcett, Chief Executive of the independent charity, Victim Support, said:

We know that those affected by sexual, physical or psychological abuse face an increased risk of mental health problems, and are often denied justice.  This can particularly impact victims of church-based abuse.

We worked closely with survivors to help inform the design and development of Safe Spaces, a much needed service, and their input has been invaluable. We are pleased to be able to give victims a safe channel to access specialist services completely independently from the police or any faith-based institution.”

Although the churches have funded the service, it is run independently by the charity Victim Support, a leading charity providing specialist support to survivors of abuse in England and Wales.  We work towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support they need and respect they deserve.

Safe Spaces is for anyone who feels they have experienced church related abuse of any form in England or Wales.

It is for people who’ve experienced any kind of abuse – including sexual violence, inappropriate sexual behaviour, physical abuse, financial abuse or exploitation, psychological abuse (including spiritual abuse), domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour.

Our dedicated Safe Spaces team are available through our helpline 0300 303 1056 and live chat service between Monday–Saturday 10am-6pm, apart from Thursdays when the service is open 12-8pm.

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