Safeguarding children & vulnerable adults

If you need to report a safeguarding concern or find support

George Bell Review
The Terms of Reference of the review include considering the adequacy of the responses to the complainant and the subsequent decision making processes and action taken, in the context of the safeguarding policies and procedures in place at the time.  The review will also provide a detailed evidence-based analysis of the responses and decision making processes concerning the case.  Anyone with information they believe to be relevant to the scope and purpose of the review who wishes to contact the independent reviewer, Lord Carlile, in relation to these matters should do so by the end of June. For contact details

John Smyth case
Once alerted to the horrific abuse in the John Smyth case, following a Channel 4 News report in February, the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team (NST) immediately convened a national core group, as per its policy in Responding to Serious Safeguarding Situations, and has been supporting survivors both nationally and through dioceses..

The NST has now agreed with the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) that their confidential  helpline - 0303 003 11 11 or 01322 517817 - will take calls relating to the case. CCPAS is an independent Christian charity working across all denominations. The Team has also arranged independent counselling support for alleged victims/survivors. The CofE is working closely with Hampshire Police (Operation Cubic) - we would encourage people with relevant information to contact Going forward these dedicated systems will offer a consistent approach and support to all those affected by this very complex case.

John Smyth was a QC and Chair of the Trustees of Iwerne Trust, a non-denominational Christian charity, but a number of the young men who were survivors of the abuse, carried out between 1978-82, had links with the Church of England and have come forward to share their story.  

Statement of safeguarding principles

We are committed to the safeguarding, care and nurture of everyone within our community.

In all these principles we will follow legislation, guidance and recognized good practice:

  • We will carefully select, support and train all those with any responsibility within The Church of England, in line with Safer Recruitment principles, including the use of criminal records disclosures and registration/membership of the relevant vetting and barring schemes.
  • We will respond without delay to every complaint made, that any adult, child or young person may have been harmed, cooperating with the police and local authority in any investigation.
  • We will seek to offer informed pastoral care and support to anyone who has suffered abuse, developing with them an appropriate ministry that recognizes the importance of understanding the needs of those who have been abused, including their feelings of alienation and/or isolation.
  • We will seek to protect survivors of sexual abuse from the possibility of further harm and abuse.
  • We will seek to challenge any abuse of power, especially by anyone in a position of trust.
  • We will seek to offer pastoral care and support, including supervision, and referral to the appropriate authorities, to any member of The Church of England community known to have offended against a child, young person or vulnerable adult.
  • In all these principles we will follow legislation, guidance and recognized good practice.


Information on the National Safeguarding Team (NST)

  • National Advisor - Graham Tilby
  • National Policy Manager - Heather Reid
  • National Casework Manager - Moira Murray
  • Provincial Casework Manager (Lambeth) - Caroline Venables
  • Provincial Casework Manager (Bishopthorpe) -  Anna Flower
  • National Learning & Development Adviser - Lisa Clarke
  • Executive Officer - Hannah Sinclair
  • Communications - Rachel Harden

For all safeguarding concerns or to find support please see link at top of page

Casework enquiries -
General safeguarding enquiries -

The NST is working to build the strong foundations for a safer church. The current focus of work includes:

  • Working with Survivor groups to develop a more responsive church.
  • Providing advice and guidance to Dioceses and other Church Institutions on Safeguarding.
  • Working to update The Church of England's policies on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults; ensuring they are evidence based and informed by the experiences of survivors and are accessible to people at all levels in the Church.
  • Developing a national safeguarding training framework for The Church of England.
  • Developing robust quality assurance processes, including independent audits of Dioceses.
  • Developing resources that support the work of Parish and Religious Safeguarding Representatives.
  • Offering practice guidance on complex cross Diocese case work.
  • Identifying and disseminating good safeguarding practice in The Church of England.
  • Liaising with other national stakeholders - other faith and secular organisations concerned with safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, including Government.