The word “Safeguarding” means keeping people safe. In respect to the Church, it means the action taken by the Church to promote a safer culture. At St Mary’s, Graveley, we aim to foster a safe environment for people to explore the Christian faith and build supportive relationships.  Safeguarding can relate to children, young people and vulnerable adults. It necessitates good practice and the correct training in order to identify and prevent and abuse from occurring and the knowledge of how to deal with these situations if they happen. Anyone can be a potential abuser and anyone can suffer abuse. This can be deliberate or unintentional, and it can also take place in many different forms.  In order to “Safeguard” our parishioners it is important to be mindful to recognise possible abuse and know how to respond quickly, safely, and with the correct policies and procedures in place.  

Abuse in a church is often difficult to detect and take place without people realising it. This could be because people come to church feeling that it is a safe place, away from day-to-day happenings, somewhere holy and pure where nothing bad could possibly happen. People can be led into positions of trust that they might not be comfortable with in other day to day situations. People may feel more easily able to bear their souls – giving out personal information. People also sometimes start attending church because they are suffering or have suffered badly. They may have mental health issues, have suffered physical or mental abuse at home, or are suffering from illness or trauma that draws them to feel that they need God’s help. It is important to pick up on this suffering or struggling.