Church safeguarding pledge launched to effect change
Thirtyone:eight has launched a new campaign this February with the backing of many senior Christian leaders across the UK. They are encouraging church leaders and all those working or serving in Christian faith settings to stand in solidarity with victims and survivors by pledging to be part of a movement for change in how Christian churches respond to abuse.
The Safer Places Pledge has been created as a direct response to some of the recent appalling and high profile cases of abuse in the church which continue to make the headlines in the UK.
The pledge not only speaks to the horror of the abuse that has taken place, but also the poor way people in positions of leadership and their organisations have responded when abuses have come to light. Such accounts are not unique to any one Christian denomination or tradition, and time and again victims and survivors of abuse have pleaded with leaders and those in positions of power and influence to listen to them and take action. Whilst they have limited success, the stories of further abuses, whether current or past continue to be exposed.
Justin Humphreys, CEO of thirtyone:eight, launched the pledge by calling for leaders to make a public declaration of their intent to make change happen.
Justin said “As an organisation, thirtyone:eight has been working in the area of safeguarding for more than 40 years, and although we have seen much change, it doesn’t get any easier especially in the face of such appalling stories. At the same time, it gives us a renewed conviction that things must change."
"Apologies and learning lessons are important steps in the process of responding to abuse, but too often that is where we stop. We must not just take responsibility, and learn lessons, but make active, tangible, timely steps towards change and encourage others to do the same.
“As a Christian, I must fight for the church and pursue what is right and just. I believe that change begins with me choosing to be the change I want to see. I’d encourage everyone who has been moved but what they have seen, read and heard in recent months to join me in making this pledge and living it out courageously.”
The Safer Places Pledge contains six statements to:
Put survivors first
Make change happen
Hold each other accountable
The pledge invites people to voluntarily sign-up, and gives the opportunity for them to publicly show they've pledged their support. Individuals and organisations can sign up to the pledge at thirtyoneeight.org/pledge
Thirtyone:eight (formerly the Churches' Child Protection & Advisory Service) is one of CTE’s Bodies in Association (organisations which work ecumenically).