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What is Church abuse?

Church abuse can take many forms. It is not easily defined, but we are here to help anyone who has suffered as a result of their relationship with the Church of England, The Church in Wales, and the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

What is Church abuse?

Church abuse can take many forms. It is not easily defined, but we are here to help anyone who has suffered as a result of their relationship with the Church of England, The Church in Wales, and the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Church related abuse can include sexual violence, domestic abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse or acts of intimidation.
This includes the abuse of people due to their ethnicity, sexuality, gender or religious beliefs, committed in the name of faith or the Church.

In most instances, it is an abuse of power, or the result of an imbalance of power.

It is important to remember that if you have been a victim of Church related abuse, it is not your fault, and you deserve support.

Getting help

You don’t have to report an incident of Church abuse to the police, or even the Church if you don’t want to. You might need time to think about what has happened to you or someone to talk to who can explain your options. You can do this even if the incident occurred a long time ago. Safe Spaces are here to help you make the best decision for you .

If you’ve experienced sexual violence, consider contacting your local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for practical and emotional support, and onward referrals to specialist support services.

If you decide you would like to report to the police or the relevant Church safeguarding bodies regarding abuse, Safe Spaces will provide you with a trained support worker who can help liaise with them on your behalf, signpost and refer to other support networks, find you appropriate counselling or therapeutic support, and assist you in seeking the compensation and acknowledgement of wrongdoing and apologies that you deserve.

There is no pressure to remain involved with Safe Spaces once you have made initial contact, and we’re happy to discuss your options, earn your trust, and proceed at a speed that suits you.

You can find your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre using this search tool on the NHS website.

More information

About First Light

First Light is a charity supporting people in Cornwall, Devon and Wiltshire who have been affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Get help

If you or someone you know have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence it can be difficult to know where to turn. First Light is here to help.

Our locations

We offer different services in different parts of the UK; including Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon and Wiltshire.