On Safeguarding Sunday, November 20, more than 2,000 churches across the UK will pledge their commitment to protecting vulnerable people in their congregations and show what they are doing to make their churches safer.
In the wake of reports from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and increasing revelations of abuse taking place in church settings, the national Safeguarding Sunday campaign will help churches across all denominations to learn from past safeguarding failings and ensure they are safe for everyone.
The event is organised by Christian safeguarding charity Thirtyone:eight, and coincides with the start of National Safeguarding Adults Week (21-27 November).
Justin Humphreys, Joint Chief Executive at Thirtyone:eight, said, “Recent reports have highlighted the massive failings of our Church institutions over the years. While we cannot and should not ignore abuse that has happened within the Church, we know many churches and faith ministries want to do this right. Safeguarding Sunday gives churches across the UK an opportunity to make a stand for a future where abuse is not tolerated and is a chance to shine a light on the commitment thousands are making to ensure places of worship are safe for all.”
He continues, “Protecting the vulnerable is the heart of the Christian message of justice and hope. Safeguarding is not a tick box exercise, ensuring people have a voice, feel protected and safe should be a vital part of our culture.”
Thirtyone:eight is equipping churches to explore what safer places look like, to tell members how they can speak out if they are worried, and to show their communities what they are doing to take safeguarding seriously.
Church workers can download a free resource pack to help them plan the event, including a range of activities for children to help them understand that their voice matters. ‘Roarry’ the lion will bring these activities to life, with children being encouraged to ‘raise their roar’ if they feel unsafe of are worried about someone.
The resource pack also includes a short film, coordinated and funded by Thirtyone:eight, of 24 denominational and safeguarding leaders from across the UK church coming together for the first time to pray that the Church will become a safer place for all.
For more information and to download the free church resource pack visit thirtyoneeight.org/SafeguardingSunday
Thirtyone:eight are the UK’s only independent Christian safeguarding charity. They help individuals, organisations, charities, faith and community groups to protect vulnerable people from abuse.
From providing complete safeguarding solutions for organisations including training, consultancy, DBS services and a 24 hour helpline, they work to ensure everyone is equipped and empowered with the tools they need.
Trusted for over 40 years, their independence sets them apart, as well as staff who come from backgrounds such as social work, teaching and the police and all of whom have on-the-ground experience of working in churches with children, young people or adults at risk.
Thirtyone:eight’s unique membership model means everyone in member organisations gets the help, resources and advice that are right for them from people who care and understand, plus all the benefits of being part of a supportive community of thousands of organisations nationwide.
24 denominations and groups pledging their support:
The 24 denominations and groups featured in the prayer include: Additional Needs Alliance, Antiochian Orthodox Church, The Apostolic Church, Assemblies of God GB, Baptist Union of Great Britain, The Catholic Church, Church in Wales, Church of England, City on a Hill Edinburgh, The Congregational Federation, Count Everyone In, Elim Pentecostal Church, Interdenominational Protection Panel (Wales), The Methodist Church, Moravian Church, National Church Leaders Forum, New Wine, New Testament Church of God, Newfrontiers, Pioneer, Thirtyone:eight, United Reformed Church, Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland, and Youth for Christ Scotland.