Victims and survivors of abuse

​​​​If you have experienced abuse, however recently or long ago, there are a range of organisations who will listen to you and offer you support.

Whether you feel able to report the abuse or would rather access support and talk through the options first, we encourage you to speak with someone. That could be someone you already know, your ministry team if you are part of a church, or a person at one of the organisations listed below.

If you are unsure, you are welcome to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team for advice. 

Support for those who have experienced abuse through the church

Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England or the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

Contact Details:

First Light have provided posters and tear off sheet posters for parishes to access, print and display:

  • The Safe Spaces for women poster can be accessed here.
  • The Safe Spaces for men poster can be accessed here.
  • The Safe Spaces QR poster can be accessed here.

Other organisations who can provide support

Sexual Assault Referral Centres

Each police force area has a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). These centres provide advice and support to anyone that has experienced sexual assault or rape no matter how recently it happened, no matter what age you are and no matter what your gender. Most centres will enable you to speak confidentially about what happened and can provide support with reporting the event to police and with accessing counselling or other forms of support.

Bristol: Sexual Violence Survivors Pathway
South Gloucestershire: Sexual Violence Survivors Pathway
Swindon & Wiltshire: Swindon Sanctuary 0808 168 0024 (24 Hour)

Domestic abuse

National Support Organisations

Women’s Aid – provides support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse. 
Mankind Initiative – helping men escape domestic abuse.
National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 (24 Hour)
Men’s Advice Line  - provides support for male victims of domestic abuse.
Restored – Christian Domestic Abuse Charity

Local Domestic Abuse Support
Bristol - Next Link 0117 925 0680
South Gloucestershire – Next Link 0800 4700 280
Swindon - Women's Aid 01793 610610 (24 hours)
Wiltshire – FearFree 01225 775276

Other Support groups and organisations

Healthwatch Wiltshire - provides a list of local mental health resources which can be accessed to provide a wide range of support.

NAPAC – National Association for People Abused in Childhood - Provides support to adults who have been abused in any way as children. 

Rape Crisis – England & Wales - Provides support to women and girls who have experienced sexual trauma. 

The Survivors Trust  – Provides anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, adult sexual assault or rape. 

MACSAS – Minister & Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors - Provides support to both women and men who have been sexually abused, as children or adults, by ministers, clergy or others under the guise of the Church. 

We Stand – Provides support for all non-abusing parents and carers whose children have been sexually abused

Samaritans – 24-hour helpline: 116 123. Phone if you feel you are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to.

MIND – Infoline to provide information and signposting about where to get help, treatment options, advocacy services or welfare benefits.

SANEline – A national out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers.

Age UK – Provides advice and guidance about all issues that older people might be facing,

Contacting the police

You can make a report to the police about abuse that you have experienced, we would especially encourage you to do this if there is any possibility that the person who harmed you may still be in a position to harm others. Police are contactable nationwide on telephone: 101 or in an emergency 999.

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