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Church News

Churches asked to pledge to improve how they respond to abuse

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian safeguarding charity Thityone:eight has a launched a new campaign to encourage church leaders to get involved with a movement against abuse in churches. 

The organisation created the Safer Places pledge, which asks churches to:

  • Speak up
  • Put survivors first
  • Take responsibility
  • Make change happen 
  • Hold each other accountable 

The launch of the pledge comes after recent cases of abuse within UK churches have made headlines. A BBC documentary last month featured the case of former Anglican Bishop Peter Ball who was jailed for sexual abuse. 

Another example is Pastor Michael Oluronbi, who was convicted last month of raping multiple members of his congregation. 

Justin Humphreys, chief executive of Thirtyone:eight, said the continued revelations of abuse in Christian settings has given the charity a "renewed conviction that things must change".

He added: "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 would encourage everyone who has been moved by what they have seen, read and heard in recent months to join me in making this pledge and living it out courageously."

Dr Joe Aldred, a patron of Thirtyone:eight said: "Many churches are now aware of the requirement for good safeguarding policy and practice, and work hard to have these in place and functioning. 

"However, there is a way to go to be satisfied that all churches are, as they should be, safe places for all. I see this pledge as a positive commitment to overcome whatever challenges churches face to establish and maintain a culture of the highest safeguarding practices."

Thirtyone:eight said the pledge has the backing of senior Christian leaders across the country and is also open to all those working or serving in Christian faith settings.

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