Pastoral care for those who have suffered abuse
The House of Bishops have produced policy and guidance entitled ‘Responding Well‘ to those who have been sexually abused.
The document is a statement of the general principles of the church on this subject. It sets out the responsibilities of the church; from the central structures of the Church of England, to all dioceses and parishes. The guidance aims to ensure that people who approach the church in these circumstances receive a well-informed, compassionate and helpful response.
Introduced in the document is the concept of an ‘Authorised Listener’. The Diocese of St Albans is committed to the general principles of safeguarding and pastoral support of those who have suffered abuse. To meet this commitment we have appointed two persons, one of each gender, as authorised listeners. The appointed authorised listeners will provide an attentive and attuned listening ear to help those in need to talk of their experiences. A listener will be able to help an individual think about their next step and to support them in their decision. Each listener will have been trained in this role.
In all instances the first point of contact for anyone wishing to meet with a listener must be through the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.