It is really important at this time when we have to re-imagine our Christian Ministry because of the social distancing restrictions in place, that we consider some of the implications of COVID-19 from a safeguarding perspective.
The below has been put together by the Diocesan Safeguarding Team drawing on resources from safeguarding leads across different voluntary organisations and faith groups. At this time, more than ever, those of us involved in outreach and pastoral care should ensure the protection of those at risk of abuse is at the forefront of our thinking. Our desire to offer support to our communities must be underpinned with an understanding of the increased safeguarding risks many vulnerable people are facing and hence we have put this information together.
When our news and social media streams are so full of the devastating impact of Covid 19 on the health and well-being of the nation, it can be really difficult for us to also consider that children and adults will continue to be abused and neglected throughout this time, and some may be at higher risk because of the measures taken to prevent the spread of disease. We have compiled the following because in order to continue to promote a safer church, we must consider the ways in which vulnerability is increased at this time.
Children on child protection plans, looked-after children or those classed as a child in need, together with other children and adults who were already at risk of abuse before Covid-19 – This group of people are likely to be at more risk as they and their families/carers do not have their usual support systems to rely on. There is a very real risk of worsening abuse or neglect. Because self isolation is causing pressures in frontline services, professionals have less capacity to support and safeguard. Home visits are not happening in the same way and often the requirement to see children and the vulnerable alone away from potential sources of abuse is not possible because of the restrictions that everyone remain at home together.
Families will be under increased amounts of stress, due to new financial pressures, household isolation, school closures and lack of normal outlets for stress and frustrations. This leads to increased risk of domestic abuse and violence and abuse within families previously unknown to safeguarding professionals.
Adults who are vulnerable and isolated may be at increased risk of financial exploitation by some
pretending to help under the guise of ‘COVID kindness’.
Children used to accessing support with their mental health via school-based counselling may be struggling to cope without regular face-to-face contact.
Those known to us who may be at increased risk might be:
What we know is that:
Practical tips for safeguarding to consider when engaging with someone you think may be vulnerable when talking on the phone or in the virtual world.
Below are links to some useful fact sheets and guidance documents about how to help people safely and how to work with children and young people using video and online messaging.
Normal reporting procedures apply. All House of Bishops Safeguarding Policies and Procedures remain in force. Where variations are put in place to take account of social distancing restrictions, the National Safeguarding Team Webpages will provide the most up to date information(links below).
The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers, Penny Turner and Debbie Johnson are working from their homes and are available as usual to offer advice and support.
Contact them at: [email protected] M: 07432522412
Up-to-date information regarding local authority contacts can be found at
Through the national Church of England website the following updates are available
Either click the links below or use the web address www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding
Police: 999 or 101
Local Authority Key Contacts:
Lincolnshire: 01522 782155 (Adults) 01522 78 21 11 (Children) 01522 78 23 33 (Out of Hours)
North East Lincolnshire: 01472 25 62 56 (Adults) 01472 32 62 92 (Children) (Both are 24 hour lines)
North Lincolnshire: 01724 297 979 (Adults) 01724 29 65 00 (Children) 01724 27 64 44 (Out of Hours)
Sexual Assault Referral Centres remain open nationally providing the same quality care and support to anyone who has experienced rape, sexual assault or other sexual abuse.
Local services are provided in the North of the Diocese through:
Blue Door https://www.thebluedoor.org/ are a specialist service who provide support to anyone that has experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence in North and North East Lincolnshire Helpline: 0800 197 47 87 Office: 01724 841 947 E:l [email protected].
Local services in Lincolnshire County Council area are:
Spring Lodge https://www.lpft.nhs.uk/spring-lodge/home This is Lincoln’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (also known as a Sexual Referral Centre or SARC) dedicated to providing a comprehensive service to men and women who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
T:01522 524 402 (office hours) T: 01371 812 686 (all other times) e: [email protected]
Help with Mental Health
Support and Monitoring of those subject to Safer Church Agreements
Those who are convicted of Sexual offences provoke a powerful response within our communities. It is a challenging ministry to be alongside those made subject to safer church agreements and sexual harm prevention orders. The successful rehabilitation and reintegration of an individual who has committed a sexual offence is key to preventing further victims. Social isolation and emotional loneliness are key factors increasing the risk of (re)offending. Please check out www.stopitnow.org or www.saferlivingfoundation.org for useful information and advice. As always you can make contact with Penny Turner the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser for church specific advice and support.
The Diocese of Lincoln safeguarding team is striving to ensure that truth and justice are sought for all those whose lives have been impacted upon by past abuse or by the poor handling of past allegations. Any survivors, or those with information about Church-related abuse, are invited to come forward with confidence that the Diocese will treat them seriously and sensitively.
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Penny Turner on 077432522412 or Debbie Johnson if Penny is not available. [email protected]
The Diocese has a specialist independent domestic and sexual violence advocate, her name is Gemma Marks-Good E: [email protected] T: 01522504079
A specialist national helpline Tel 0800 80 20 20 has been set up to operate independently of the church. The Helpline is operated by the NSPCC although it is not only to report child abuse. The helpline has been specially commissioned so that anyone can use it to raise concerns regarding abuse within the Church of England context; whether they are reporting issues relating to children, adults or seeking to whistle blow about poor safeguarding practice.
The below specialist services are available for people who have experienced recent or historical rape, sexual violence or sexual abuse. Services are independent, confidential and free for anyone, including family members and supporters of people who have been affected by rape or sexual abuse.
Victim Lincs deliver a service on behalf of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner. They provide information, advice and support; including referral to specialist services as appropriate. Tel: 01522 947 510 08:00 – 16:00, Monday – Friday [email protected]
National Association for People Abused in Childhood NAPAC helpline: 0808 801 0331 The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) is a national charity offering support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.
SurvivorsUK is the longest established service providing support to adult males who have experienced any form of sexual violence. They provide a national web-chat and text-chat support service available seven days per week and counselling (individual and group) from their London premises. They also host a male victim focused independent sexual violence adviser (ISVA).
Mind InfoLine: 0300 123 3393
Mind – a national mental health charity providing advice and support to anyone with a mental health problem.
Samaritans is available round the clock, every day of the year. Talk to us any time you like in your own way, about whatever’s getting to you.
The Survivors Trust The Survivors Trust is a national umbrella agency for specialist rape and sexual abuse support organisations for women, men, young people and children. Contact details for local support organisations: www.thesurvivorstrust.org/find-support National Support Line offering advice, information and support freephone: 0808 801 0818