Pastoral care for those who have suffered abuse
St Albans Diocese Authorised Listeners Service
St Albans Diocese has developed this service in response to ‘Responding well to those who have been abused’ published by the Church of England in 2011. This report highlighted the fact that:
‘Survivors of sexual abuse still see a need for better support and action in recognition of their pain. They continue to press the Church to provide safer communities where their experience of abuse can be heard and support offered.’
This report is one of the key safeguarding policies adopted by the Church of England and places a responsibility on each Diocese to appoint ‘carefully chosen, competent and trained people who will be able to be ‘authorised listeners’ for those who disclose abuse from within the church community.
The Diocese has recruited a small number of Authorised Listeners who are available to respond to referral from the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA). There will an Authorised Listener of each gender available.
The service is available to those who are victims/survivors of abuse. The abuse may be alleged and there is no expectation that it will have been proved or substantiated.
Listeners are volunteers who will be reimbursed travelling and other expenses in providing a service.
In exceptional circumstances where the Diocese is not able to identify a suitable listener the DSA may recommend to the Diocesan Secretary the need to commission a fee paid service from an appropriately trained professional or agency.
Referrals to the service must be made to the DSA – see below. The DSA is responsible for the provision of a safe and reliable service to those who need it and will arrange for the provision of an Authorised Listener.
Wherever possible a referral will be made to the Listener without a direct meeting with the DSA to ensure the person does not have to ‘repeat their story’.
To offer in the first instance, one session and up to a maximum of three, which may be either face to face or by telephone.
The role of the Listener is:
- To provide an attentive and attuned listening ear to assist the client in talking about their experiences in relation to present or past abuse, or their concerns.
- To assist the client to consider their next steps, and to support them in making them. Such next steps may include reporting abuse to instigate a statutory investigation or disciplinary process, facilitating counselling or pastoral support, mediation etc.
The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor can be contacted by phone on 01727 818107 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.