Provincial press releases

From slavery to digital – Church focuses on abuse

Slavery and people trafficking in today’s communities will be on the agenda of a safeguarding event organised by the Church in Wales.

It is holding a training day to raise awareness of the different forms of abuse people are suffering. The day will also focus on online abuse and tackling mental health stigma.

21 safeguardThe event, titled, 21st Century Safeguarding – from Slavery to the Digital Age, will be held at Brecon Cathedral on July 8 and is organised by the safeguarding committee of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon. The keynote speakers come from organisations which operate within the diocese.

An outline of slavery and human trafficking will be given by Lynn Minshall, chair of the Western Bay Anti-Slavery Forum. Russell Workman & Louise Tanner, for the mental health campaign, Time to Change Wales, will talk about risks faced by those suffering mental health problems, while the danger of online abuse will be discussed by DC Andy Fawkes-Williams of Dyfed Powys Police.

The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies, says the Church is holding the event because it is concerned about all forms of abuse which could affect church congregations, and the wider community as a whole.

Bishop John Davies
Bishop John Davies

He says, “In addition to the more obvious forms of abuse which are regularly reported in the media, the rise in online abuse, modern slavery, people trafficking and mental health issues in our communities today is alarming – particularly so because these are less obvious, hidden and secretive. We are holding this event to raise awareness of the issues and the risks which could be facing people we come across every day. As well as seeking to be a ‘safe church’ at the heart of the community we serve, it is important that we are not only well informed about all harmful behaviours but also know how to respond appropriately.”

Peter Doyle, a safeguarding support officer for the Church in Wales who helped organise the day, says, “As a former senior police officer I know that slavery and people trafficking is a very real problem in Wales today and not just in our towns and cities. Abuse of those with mental health problems and online safety, are also affecting many more people than we realise. It is important that people in our church communities are aware of the dangers, know what signs to look for and where to turn for help.”

The training day is open to all, including clergy, safeguarding coordinators from parishes and people who work in churches with vulnerable adults or children.
It starts at 9.15am and finishes at 3.45pm.