APPG on safeguarding in faith communities

What is an all party parliamentary group?

All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal, cross-party interest groups of MPs and Peers interested in a particular issue.  They exist to help other MPs from all parties become better informed about a particular policy area. APPGs do not have any power to make laws and are not funded by Parliament. There is a great number and variety of APPGs, covering many areas such as health, education, transport, defence, faith, finance, the media and sports.

What is the APPG on Safeguarding in Faith Communities?

The APPG on Safeguarding in Faith Communities was established in July 2021. The aims of the group, are to increase awareness of issues relating to safeguarding within faith settings and to provide an opportunity for faith communities to inform safeguarding discourse, share best practise and work together to create safer places.

Following our inaugural meeting which was held virtually over zoom on Friday 16 July 2021, Janet Daby MP and Lord Bishop Viv Faull were elected as Co-Chairs with thirtyone:eight, an independent safeguarding charity, providing the secretariat for the group.

Our official registration can be found here (Page 1065).

For latest news and updates follow us on Twitter @APPG_SafeFaith or for further information about the work of the APPG contact Jackie on [email protected] 

Elected Officers:

Janet Daby MP (LAB) - Co-Chair

Lord Bishop Viv Faull - Co-Chair

Rosie Duffield MP (LAB) - Vice-Chair

Tim Farron MP (LD) - Vice-Chair

Baroness Hollins - Vice-Chair

Ruth Jones MP (LAB) - Vice-Chair

Pauline Latham MP (CON) - Vice-Chair

Andrew Selous MP (CON) - Vice-Chair

Baroness Sherlock - Vice-Chair

Stephen Timms (LAB) - Vice-Chair

Secretariat provided by: Thirtyone:eight (Principal Advisor: Justin Humphreys, Joint CEO)

Meetings

The APPG meets regularly as part of its work.  Details of previous and upcoming meetings are below.  If you're interested in attending please book your place by contacting Jackie on [email protected]. Please be aware that places are limited.

Minutes of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Safeguarding in Faith Communities

Tuesday 2nd November 2021 at 1pm on Zoom

Present:

Officers

Janet Daby MP (Co-Chair)

Lord Bishop Viv Faull (Co-Chair)

Baroness Hollins (Vice-Chair)

Stephen Timms MP (Vice-Chair)

Tan Dhesi MP

Secretariat

Justin Humphreys, Thirtyone:eight

Jackie Mills, Thirtyone:eight

Bridget Robb, Thirtyone:eight

Peter Wright, Thirtyone:eight

Attendees

Rev Dr Beatrice Brandon, Adviser and Consultant for the Healing Ministry and the Ministry of Deliverance

Zahra Awaiz-Bilal, Senior Associate in the Child Abuse Team at Bolt Burdon Kemp

Tim Carter, Methodist Church

Alan Collins, Hugh James Solicitors

Simon Cross, Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership

Professor Gordon Lynch, University of Kent

Chrissie Edgar, Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency

Lloyd Evans, JWatch

Professor David Hampshire, IFN

Shirley Maginley, NSPCC

Lewis North, Charity Commission

Jenny Symmons, Senior Researcher for Janet Daby MP

Michael Walker, Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency

 

Janet Daby welcomed everyone and introductions were given by her as Co-Chair, Bishop Viv as Co-Chair and Justin Humphreys, CEO of the thirtyone:eight who provide the Secretariat to the APPG. 

Justin spoke about the proposed subject area of exploring the engagement between faith communities and statutory partners in relation to safeguarding work (see slide presentation).  Faith communities have a presence in almost every town and city in the UK and contribute to providing a wide range of services.  However, there is a disconnection between institutions and previous research and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) have shown that this has been an issue for a long time.  There is also a huge variation in safeguarding practice across faiths, and a levelling of standards is needed. 

This issue has also been raised as part of the Faith Engagement Review (DLUHC) which raised two pertinent questions.

  1. The extent to which Government and its agencies have sufficient faith literacy and considers the partnership between faith groups and the State.
  2. Where harm might be caused through religious or faith-based practices and a review of the Government’s role in tackling them.

Contributions were heard from many attendees and the consensus was that this area would be worthwhile exploring, although consideration needs to be taken about the scope and focus.  It will be important to ensure a broad range of faith communities are included in this and attendees were encouraged to promote the APPG as widely as possible.

Other points to take into consideration were:

  • Victims and survivors need to be central
  • Helping to bring about change which is facilitative rather than punitive
  • Reflecting on the fact that faith communities are inclusive to all
  • How to map small, independent faith communities

Professor Gordon Lynch spoke about research being planned around this subject and will be invited back to address the APPG when more research has been carried out.  Colin Bloom, Faith Engagement Advisor, will be invited to share emerging findings from the Faith Engagement Review.

In terms of mapping faith communities, a suggested starting point will be identifying these through Section 11 Audit safeguarding self-assessments as outlined by Simon Cross.

A further subject area of conversion therapy was suggested by Rev Dr Beatrice Brandon.  Bishop Viv agreed that this could be considered.

Next Steps:

  1. Justin will follow up with Simon Cross and Gordon Lynch in terms of further study and report back to the APPG
  2. A date for the next meeting to be identified and communicated.

Bishop Viv expressed her gratitude for everyone who attended and contributed. 

For the Powerpoint PDF click here

 

The inaugural meeting of the group, which was held online, included introductions, an outline of the group's purpose, and the election of officers for the group.

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This is not an official website of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed on this website are those of the group, or individual members of the group.

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