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Earlier this year we launched a new campaign with the backing of many senior Christian leaders across the UK, encouraging church leaders and all those working or serving in Christian faith settings to stand in solidarity with victims and survivors by pledging to be part of a movement for change in how Christian churches respond to abuse.

The Safer Places Pledge has been created as a direct response to some of the recent appalling and high profile cases of abuse that we continue to see making the headlines in the UK, such as the case of Peter Ball highlighted in the recent BBC documentary ‘Exposed: The Church’s dark secret’,  John Smyth QC, Michael Oluronbi, and Jonathan Fletcher to name just a few. But it's not just the horror of the abuse that has taken place, it's also the appalling way people and organisations have responded when things have come to light.

It would be wrong to think that such accounts are unique to any one Christian denomination or tradition, and time and again victims and survivors of abuse have pleaded with leaders and those in positions of power and influence to listen to them and take action. Whilst they have limited success, the stories of further abuses, whether current or past continue to be exposed.

How do we respond to what we are seeing? What can we as individuals and churches do? Well, now there is something we can do.  Let’s join together and publicly pledge to be the change we want to see.

As an organisation, thirtyone:eight has been working in the area of safeguarding for more than 40 years, and although we have seen much change, it doesn’t get any easier especially in the face of such appalling stories.  At the same time, it gives us a renewed conviction that things must change.

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’d encourage everyone who has been moved but what they have seen, read, and heard in recent months to join me in making this pledge and living it out courageously.


The Safer Places Pledge contains six statements to:

Speak up

Put survivors first

Conceal nothing

Take responsibility

Make change happen

Hold each other accountable

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