There are a number of Authorised Listeners available in the Diocese to support individuals who need a confidential space to consider difficult issues which they may be facing. All Listeners have skills and experience in counselling or an allied profession; in managing sensitive and difficult information; in assessing and identifying needs for specialist support and knowing where to find further help; and in safeguarding children and adults who may be at risk of harm. They are all familiar with the church environment.
Process for referral
Authorised Listeners are accessed through the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA) who will meet or talk over the phone with you about your need for a Listener, in relation to the difficulties you would like to address. If it is agreed that a Listener is likely to be helpful, the DSA will then contact some suitable Listeners to establish who may be available. We then establish how contact will be made between you and your Listener. Where necessary, arrangements can be made for you to meet at Trinity House, the Diocesan Office near London Bridge.
What you can expect from the Listener
The Listener will offer you an attentive and attuned listening ear to assist you in talking about your experiences in relation to your current concerns and difficulties. He or she will assist you to consider your next steps, and where appropriate will support you in making them. Such next steps may include reporting abuse to instigate a statutory investigation or disciplinary process; facilitating counselling or pastoral support; mediation, etc. Please note that the Listener does not offer you counselling sessions.
In the first instance, you will be offered a maximum of 3 sessions with a Listener, which may be either face to face or by telephone. You can expect each session to last approximately an hour.
Following your conversations with the Listener, and with your agreement, he or she will share relevant information with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, in order to facilitate your next steps. Where appropriate, and again with your agreement, the Listener may enable referrals to be made to other support services and/or support you in doing so.
Confidentiality and information sharing
With the exceptions below, you are ensured confidentiality, and information which you divulge to the Listener will only be shared to other parties with your consent.
In exceptional circumstances information you share may be divulged without your consent. This occurs if other people may be at risk; or if you are assessed to be at risk and unable to protect yourself; or if information is pertinent to a current statutory services investigation or assessment. Such information will be shared in the first instance, and without delay, with the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Tel 020 7939 9423