A message from the Dean of Chester:
Chester Cathedral is committed to being a safe and caring place for all. This means that we must promote a safe environment and culture, safely recruit and support all staff and volunteers, respond promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation and to those that may pose a present risk to others, care pastorally for survivors of abuse and other affected persons and for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations. We will do this in line with best practice by following the practice guidance of the Church of England.
To those who have, in the distant or more recent past, not found Chester Cathedral to be a safe and caring place, we offer a profound and humble apology. Our commitment in this new generation is that we will respond well to allegations of abuse, referring to the appropriate agencies and linking with organisations and individuals who are able to provide appropriate support and expertise.
As outlined in “Promoting a Safer Church”, the Church of England’s Safeguarding policy Statement:
‘The Church of England is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The life of our communities and institutions is integral to how we address this task. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy. Being faithful to our call to share the gospel therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse from happening and responding well where it has’.
‘Safeguarding’ means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture in all our churches. In order to achieve this, we need to do a lot of hard work. We will promote the welfare of children, young people and adults. We will work to prevent abuse from occurring. We will seek to protect those that are at risk of being abused and respond well to those that have been abused. We will take care to identify where a person may present a risk to others and offer support to them whilst taking steps to mitigate such risks.
The care and protection of children and vulnerable adults involved in cathedral activities is the responsibility of the whole cathedral community. Everyone who participates in the life of the cathedral has a role to play in promoting a Safer Church for all. In this context, safeguarding training needs to encourage a culture of “respectful uncertainty.”
It is imperative therefore, in the light of current social concern and historic cases of sexual abuse within the church, that we set our Cathedral Community firmly within the guidelines and requirements of the National Church Safeguarding Team.
TheVery Revd Dr Tim Stratford
Dean of Chester
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) is conducting an independent audit of the safeguarding arrangements of the cathedrals of the Church of England. Chester Cathedral has undergone its audit, and the report may now be viewed here.
Chester Cathedral takes its duty and obligation to protect all extremely seriously. We have adopted the national Church of England’s robust procedures and guidelines. You can find out more about the national policies and procedures at churchofengland.org/safeguarding.
If you have any safeguarding concerns or issues of a safeguarding matter then please contact our Safeguarding Officer at email@example.com or 01244 500 953.
You can also find useful contact information here: chester.anglican.org/social-responsibility/safeguarding
Other useful links/documents:
If you have been affected, however long ago, by abuse in relation to the Church of England, you can access free and independent support from Safe Spaces England and Wales. This service is run independently by the charity Victim Support, who are one of the leading charities providing specialist support to survivors of abuse in England and Wales. For further information, click here.