“Challenging” and “powerful” were just two of the words used to describe a safeguarding conference held at Truro Cathedral this week.

The conference, which was looking at trauma informed theology and how the Church can implement a trauma-informed approach, featured speakers including victims and survivors, independent experts, and organisations who work with victims and survivors. It was organised by the Diocese of Truro safeguarding team.

Head of Safeguarding and Diocesan Safeguarding Officer Andy Earl said: “I was delighted to present our second annual conference as we develop our understanding of a Trauma Informed Response. I am grateful for the courage of those who shared their lived experience and for the commitment to embrace what it is to be a Trauma Informed Diocese.”

Among those taking part was Chris, a survivor. Chris said: “It was a privilege as a survivor to be asked to speak. I hope it was useful to people attending and hopefully, as survivors we pray that we may start to see the small changes that would make a big difference.”

Chris went on to note the work of the diocese. “You have an excellent safeguarding team and have a real opportunity to lead the way in terms of trauma informed safeguarding.”

Diocesan Secretary Simon Cade said: “Thanks Chris for your willingness to support this important work, a hard listen for those of us in leadership in the church, but vitally important.”

Speaking after the conference, Bishop Hugh Nelson, said: “We were privileged to hear important, brave, and powerful input from survivors of church abuse and their advocates at the Safeguarding Conference today. Huge thanks to everyone involved and everyone who came.”

Parish safeguarding officers, churchwardens, clergy, ordinands, lay leaders and diocesan and cathedral staff were all encouraged to attend alongside partners from other agencies.

Reflecting on the conference, Revd Becca Bell tweeted: “So much to chew over from the #safeguarding conference. There is amazing work that goes on. But also, a long way to go. It was really valuable to hear a range of voices and thoughts.”

Anne Hicks, a local pastoral minister from St Ives, tweeted: “I learned a lot and it was well worthwhile.”

Highlighting the points made by speaker Antonia Sobocki, who is Director for LOUDFence UK, Esme Page said: ‘It takes a whole church to heal a whole church! Antonia Sobocki sharing powerful, global survivor solidarity work of #LOUDfence today. Truly inspiring – and there’s a LOUDfence in Truro Cathedral to add to right now.”

Lee Moscato, Diocesan Director of Education, tweeted: “Inspiring, emotive, and brave inputs from speakers today at this conference.  Proud to be part of it.”

You can hear more about trauma-informed theology in our podcast. Rebecca Evans, Ministry & Parish Development Officer, talks to Jo Douglas, Trauma Theologian and PHD Candidate, about her research into trauma-informed theology.

Listen here

Watch the LOUDFence video here