Safeguarding at St Mary's

Being loved and being kept safe go to the very core of the Church’s Ministry to children and vulnerable adults.

​In Clifton Diocese we are deeply committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all those entrusted to our care, especially the most vulnerable among us. The Church’s mission is to bring the light of Christ to the world, and we must be vigilant in protecting those who are at risk of harm. The sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults is a grave sin that deeply offends our Lord and causes immense harm to victims.

As the shepherd of this diocese, I take this responsibility very seriously and I am determined to do everything in my power to prevent such abuses from occurring and to respond swiftly and compassionately when they do.

To this end, we have implemented robust safeguarding policies and procedures throughout the diocese.  It is the responsibility of everyone within the Diocese of Clifton to ensure our parishes and institutions are safe places, especially for those who are vulnerable. We have a zero tolerance to abuse, harm and any behaviour that falls short of appropriate safeguarding practices as expressed in National Policies from the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency.

We are also committed to fostering a culture of transparency and accountability within the Church in all our activities. Responding to those who come forward to report having suffered harm is a vital part of our mission and the Diocese is committed to being a welcoming and safe Church that is truly a beacon of light and hope for all.

We strive to support survivors and those who have been harmed by the Church, and we wish to work with survivors to improve standards further.  We will listen and learn from every survivor/victim we work with.

May the grace of God strengthen us in this vital mission.

Bishop Bosco MacDonald, May 2024


  • Parish link: Email to contact our Parish Safeguarding Representatives: Barbara Summerfield and Barbara Palmer 
  • Please refer to our Clifton Diocese Safeguarding Page here
  • St Mary’s parish recognises and follows the CSAS  (Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service) policies and procedures which are found by scrolling down the CSAS home page here
Stolen Lives

Stolen Lives is for all of us

Anyone who wants to contribute to making the Church a safe, inclusive and just Church.

Anyone who wants to understand more about the abuse of power and the process of cover-up in the Catholic Church.

Anyone who wants to appreciate the life-long impact of clerical sexual violence and other forms of abuse on victims and survivors.

Anyone who wants to break through the silence barrier that surrounds sexual and other forms of abuse in the Catholic Church.

Reclaiming Stolen Lives notes v4

Survivor Stories v8

Stolen Lives Learning Resource v4


Mental health help in winter

Mental health in winter

If the dark days & cold weather are getting you down, please consider contacting:
•Age UK  Advice Line: 0800 678 1602 Lines open 8am-7pm, all year.
•Young Somerset
•The Samaritans Call 116 123, email or write a letter to “Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS.”
*Papyrus For people under 35. Call 0800 0684141 Mon-Friday 10am-10pm, weekends 2-10pm, bank holidays 2-5pm . Text: 07786 209697
Email: UK charity dedicated to prevention of young suicide. You can contact them for help/ guidance for yourself/ someone in your care.
•NHS Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust 0800 953 1919

Helplines from the Catholic Mental Health Project 

Mental Health – Catholic Mental Health Project

This website has a range of resources to help increase spiritual and pastoral support for those with mental health challenges, their families and carers.  The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales established a Mental Health Project in response to concerns raised during “Listening 2004: My Family My Church”.The aims of the Bishops’ Mental Health Project are to:

*Offer support and resources to local Catholic communities as they respond to those facing mental health challenges

*Identify and highlight good practice in pastoral care for those with mental health needs, their families and carers

*Develop a network of those within the Catholic community in England and Wales with a special interest in locally based mental health support.

UPDATED: Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces, the free national support service for victims and survivors of church-related abuse. Safe Spaces offers a confidential, personal, and safe space for anyone who has been abused through their relationship with either the Church of England, The Church in Wales or The Catholic Church in England and Wales, regardless of disability, age, gender, or sexual orientation.

Call 0300 3031056 Mon- Fri 9am – 9pm, Sat 9-1pm and Sun 1-5pm (excluding bank holidays).



Lots more information on

Safeguarding Bishop

Bishop Paul Mason, Lead Bishop on Safeguarding, welcomes the launch: “I am very pleased to announce the launch of a new service dedicated to the support and accompaniment of those who have suffered abuse within the Church, which will complement the existing support services within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

“Safe Spaces, a joint Catholic/Anglican initiative, is the fruit of an ongoing collaboration between the churches who wish to reach out to and support those who have experienced such abuse.

“The charity Victim Support (VS) will independently manage the project with the aim of offering help to anyone who may have experienced trauma in the context of church activity. Their experience in offering support to victims of abuse, support which not only puts victims first but which is also informed by their experience, is a great step in helping us to hear and respond in a more concrete way to their needs.”


Although the churches funded the service, it 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. We work towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support they need and respect they deserve.

It comprises a team of trained support advocates who have undergone specialist training in supporting survivors of sexual violence and who have received additional specific training in how the churches respond to abuse cases, the way in which faith and church-related settings have been used to carry out abuse, and the particular issues affecting people who have had or still have, a relationship with the church.

The team are based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, but it is a national service providing remote support through our helpline, live chat service and website. Remote support is provided for as long as the survivor needs. This can be advocating for the survivor, giving them support, providing information (including information on church and police procedures), understanding individual needs and jointly working on individual support plans. If face-to-face support is also required, contact and referrals will be made with appropriate local organisations depending on need.


Here you will find information about where and how to report domestic abuse and get help.
Phone the Police if you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.
If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and listen to the questions from the operator and if possible, respond by coughing or tapping the head set.
If prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard and this will transfer your call to the police. (NB Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.)
When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.

Please share these numbers and email addresses so someone in need can find them:

WomansAid National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
The mix Advice for the under 25yrs. 0808 808 4994
Advice for Male Victims of Domestic Violence 0808 8801 0327
Childline Deals with a vast variety of children concerns including Domestic Violence. 0800 1111

Many helpline numbers and email addresses

Seek help
Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge 0808 200 0247

Live Fear Free helpline (Wales) 0808 80 10 800

Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) 0808 802 9999

Respect phoneline 0808 802 4040

Galop (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) 0800 999 5428

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline 0800 027 1234

Scottish Women’s Aid 0131 226 6606

Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland) 0800 917 1414

Karma Nirvana
Karma Nirvana runs a national honour-based abuse helpline. 0800 5999 247

Hestia provides a free mobile app, Bright Sky, which provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.

Chayn provides online help and resources in a number of languages about identifying manipulative situations and how friends can support those being abused.

Imkaan are a women’s organisation addressing violence against black and minority women and girls.

Southall Black Sisters offer advocacy and information to Asian and Afro-Caribbean women suffering abuse.

Stay Safe East provides advocacy and support services to disabled victims and survivors of abuse.

SignHealth provides domestic abuse service support for deaf people in British Sign Language (BSL). 020 3947 2601

Shelter provide free confidential information, support and legal advice on all housing and homelessness issues.

Sexual Assault Referral Centres provide advice and support services to victims and survivors of sexual assault or abuse.

The Silver Line - free helpline for older people

The Silver Line is a  free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, they have now joined forces with Age Uk. Together they are available 24  hrs a day.  With an aging population and therefore parish, we hopefully know who are our vulnerable people, particularly those who live alone. Some, including those who  have taken up the mantle to provide additional support may wish to have someone  speak to someone not connected with their parish. This may be a valuable resource.

Useful links and resources for internet safety

Useful links and resources for internet safety

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is a voluntary organisation chaired by Ministers from the Department for Education and the Home Office. UKCCIS brings together over 180 organisations and individuals from government, industry, law enforcement, academia, charities and parenting groups. Some of the organisations UKCCIS works with include: Cisco, Apple, Sony, Research in Motion, the four largest internet service providers, Facebook and Microsoft.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has numerous resources for parents and carers and children using the internet; there are several video tutorials on the THINKUKNOW site which is part of CEOP.

Lucy Faithful Foundation is a registered child protection charity which works to prevent child sexual abuse. It runs ‘Stop It Now!’ and ‘Parents Protect.

Stop It Now! reaches out to adults concerned about their own behaviour towards children, or that of someone they know, as well as professionals, survivors and protective adults. Stop It Now! runs a Freephone confidential helpline.

Parents Protect‘ is a site to help parents, carers and other protective adults with information and advice to help them prevent child sexual abuse.

Catholic Youth Work has detailed guidelines on the use of social networking sites.

Internet Matters gives advice on parental controls and is a great way of preventing children accessing unsuitable content online.

Childnet International is a multi-lingual resource site which has a guide on protecting your privacy on ‘Facebook’.

The NSPCC has useful resources for keeping children safe online including sections on Cyberbullying and Sexting. Reporting and Monitoring.

EduCare E-Learning modules

We would really like to encourage as many volunteers as possible to engage with the EduCare E Learning modules. All members of the Catholic community have free access to this thought provoking material, that may just be the information that enables us to recognise a concern and enable it to be resolved. There is an expectation by the Charity Commission that all those who perform a voluntary role which necessitates DBS clearance, should have a minimum standard of Safeguarding training. To gain access to this free resource email  and we will add you to the system. You should then be able to access the material within a couple of days.

Contact our Parish Safeguarding Rep.

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