This week has seen the annual prayer day for remembering and reflecting on the experiences of survivors and victims of abuse at the hands of the clergy within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, and the Church elsewhere. Prayer resources from ‘The Isaiah Journey’ – a working group set up by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) – can be found through the link below. These have been written by or with survivors and so give us a powerful insight into the pastoral and spirituals need that must be addressed by us all in the Diocese.

Abuse in our Church also has a significant impact on families and friends of victims, so our prayers and any support we can appropriately give, should be available to them as well. Reflecting on the hurt and pain experienced by all who have suffered through abuse, should be the springboard for all of us to help build a safer Church in whatever ways we can.

On the occasion of the prayer day this week, Bishop Robert has taken the opportunity to express his deepest sorrow, as well as apologise unreservedly on behalf of the Church, for what has happened in the past, and pledged that as a Diocese we will all work together to do better for survivors, victims and others affected.

In a message to his Diocesan Clergy on the matter, Bishop Robert spoke of his intention to significantly increase resources on safeguarding training, education and awareness raising. This will build on the firm foundations that the Diocese now has, allowing us to further our efforts in embedding a culture of safeguarding in all its forms. A copy of that communication is available here.