Safe Spaces is a free, national support service independently run by Victim Support. It provides a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England or the Catholic Church of England and Wales.
Safe Spaces comprises a team of trained support advocates, who are Independent Sexual Violence Advisors 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 provides remote support through our helpline, live chat service and website and is for anyone who feels they have experienced church related abuse of any form in relation to the Church of England, Catholic Church in England and Wales or the Church in Wales.
By ‘church related’, this may include:
- Abuse by a church officer. A church officer is any person, ordained or lay, paid or voluntary, who holds a role in the church.
- Abuse that is linked to participating in a church-led activity or group.
The service is for people 18 or over who live in England and Wales. Survivors do not have to have reported the incident to the Church authorities or the Police in order to access support, and you do not need to be a current active member of the church in order to access support.
Please refer to the Safe Spaces website for further information on the Safe Spaces service and eligibility.
You can contact the Safe Spaces team by:
Other support agencies that may be helpful include:
Action on Elder Abuse Helpline: 0808 808 8141 (lines open Monday to Friday: 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Childline: 0800 1111 (phone if you are a child or young person and are worried about anything – lines open 24 hours)
NAPAC – National Association for People Abused in Childhood: 0808 801 0331 (support for adults abused as children – lines open Monday to Thursday: 10.00am to 9.00pm; Fridays: 10.00am to 6.00pm)
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 (phone if you are experiencing domestic abuse – lines open 24 hours)
NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (phone if you are worried about a child – lines open 24 hours)
Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 (phone if you feel you are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to – lines open 24 hours)
Stop It Now: 0808 1000 900 (preventing child sexual abuse – lines open Monday to Thursday: 9.00am to 9.00pm (excluding Bank Holidays); Fridays: 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Survivors Trust: 08088 010 818 (support for men who have experienced sexual assault or rape – lines open Mondays and Wednesdays: 10.00am to 7:30pm; Tuesdays: 10.00am to 12.00 noon and 1:30pm to 7:30pm; Thursdays: 10.00am to 4.00pm and 5.00pm to 7:30pm; Fridays: 10.00am to 2.00pm)