Support from various sources:-
Broken Rites Area Representatives
Area Representatives are a point of contact for clergy spouses/partners and may offer support through group meetings, telephone contact or personal contact. They will direct you to a Bishop’s Visitor if appropriate. They also represent area views at national committee meetings.
Bright Sky is a free to download mobile app providing support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know. The link will take you to the Hestia, Digital Tools page; here you will find links to the Google and Apple App stores. This link will remain on our Support page even when overtaken by other news here.
Restored Relationships Excellent resource – of the free Handbook their website says “We are extremely proud to have produced this outstanding resource aimed at supporting survivors of domestic abuse as they journey towards recovery. The inspiration to publish this handbook came out of Restored’s Online Survivors’ Network when it became clear that women, who have experienced domestic abuse in the past, were faced with very similar challenges in a variety of areas and there were no comprehensive resources to point them towards.”
Bishop’s Visitors help Anglicans access support from charities and the diocese and provide information on housing, charities, legal assistance and benefits. They may provide spiritual and emotional support and reassurance. How to contact your Visitor should be in your Diocesan handbook or Contact Us.
Church of England – Safeguarding Policy
The C of E has developed powerful guidance structures for safeguarding; of particular interest to members will be section 2.5 of the Domesic Abuse Safeguarding Policy. We urge you to download and review this document, not least for the resourses information it suggests. Follow this Safeguarding link, scroll to Practice Guidance and click on the Responding well to domesic abuse practice guidance document.
An extract from the 2017 edition:
- If the partner of an ordained person, or an ordained person, discloses abuse, they must be treated in exactly the same way as any other victim. Clergy and clergy spouses must have the same access to support and resources as others who are experiencing domestic abuse. If a member of the clergy or clergy partner who lives in church housing has decided to leave the relationship, they are likely to need alternative housing. Every Diocesan Bishop is advised to appoint a Bishop’s Visitor for the victim/survivor of abuse, be they a member of the clergy or clergy spouse.
Broken Rites on Facebook
Our Broken Rites page describes who we are and what we do.
For Members: Those who are members of Broken Rites are invited to join our Broken Rites Group. The group is set to secret, so is secure and confidential: all those you will meet there are divorced or separated clergy spouses who committed as full members of Broken Rites. The conversations we have are lively, frank, and very supportive. Message us through Facebook or here if you are a Member and want to join in: there is no pressure to participate, and we’d love to welcome you.
Clergy Marriage in Crisis
For non-members: We also have a second page on Facebook called Clergy Marriage in Crisis (CMiC), visible to the public. From this public page, you can find your way to a secret Facebook group for those married to clergy and experiencing marital stress; here non-members of Broken Rites are offered access to a safe, confidential shared space.
A handful of members have set this up in response to the need to support BR non-members. In Facebook terms, it’s a secret group, so nobody outside of the group can see that you’re in it. This group is primarily for those who are either still married to an ordained spouse, or who for another reason may not yet have committed to Broken Rites full membership (and who are therefore not eligible to join the BR Members’ Group). Those admitted to CMiC (at the discretion of the group admin) will find a space to rant/ find support /share advice with others who are in a similar position or who have ‘been there’. Whether things are really bad, or you are just seeking reassurance through a ‘wobble’, we are here to listen, without preaching or judging. We recognise circumstances change and won’t be at all offended if you leave the group at any time! Message us via the Facebook page if you would like to join.
Support for adult children of divorced or separated clergy families
Survivors R Us is a confidential Facebook group for the adult children of clergy who have experienced parental separation or divorce. It is a safe space in which to share experiences and support one another. Contact Emily at email@example.com to join the group.
Clergy Spouse Support
Clergy spouse support is a blog which aims to offer information and advice to clergy spouses which may help them as they deal with the unique pressures of life in the vicarage. It also has details of how to join Facebook support groups for clergy wives and husbands. The blog can be found at www.clergyspousesupport.wordpress.com and the blogger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by searching ‘Clergy Spouse Support’ on Facebook.
Non Church of England Support
Please contact us for more detailed information about what is available in your area.
Other Support which we have found to be helpful – available to everyone
- Adviceguide is the online help from Citizens Advice Bureau and provides excellent up-to-date information on your rights covering many topics like benefits, housing, family matters,debt etc;
- Rights of Women offers help to women through the Law;
- Bright Sky is a free to download mobile app providing support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know. The link will take you to the Hestia, Digital Tools page; here you will find links to the Google and Apple App stores;
- Benefits Rates provided by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). Guidance only as rules complicated and you should seek advice from your nearest Job Centre Plus or CAB;
- State Pension Entitlement This website will help you to calculate your state pension entitlement at retirement;
- Turn2us is a charitable service helping people access money available to them through welfare, benefits, grants and other help. It gives a wealth of information;
- Warm Homes Discount scheme Advice on eligibility for the new government “warm homes discount scheme”;
- Divorce Recovery Workshop – courses to help individuals come to terms with a relationship that’s irretrievably broken down;
- Restored Lives – courses on recovery from separation and divorce;
- Separated Parents Information Programme. Run by Cafcass, this is a course that helps separated parents understans to put their children’s needs first and teaches parents how to manage conflict and other difficulties. www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-up/separated-parents-information-programme;
- Spiritual Healing Group “Beauty from Ashes,” encourages those living through trauma or loss to find faith in Christ;
- The Retreat Association – to help you discover your journey with God. Provides advice on making a retreat, finding a spiritual director and links to over 200 retreat centres across the UK and beyond;
- Holy Rood House – Centre for Health and Pastoral Care – an ecumenical resource; a place to stay for retreat and healing;
- Community Legal Advice – wide range of information on your legal rights 0845 345 4345;
- Lawworks is a charity offering legal advice to those who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay;
- Family Mediation Helpline gives information about suitable local mediation services. If both parties agree then it’s a cheaper, easier, less stressful way of sorting out issues. 0845 60 30 809;
- Money Advice Service is a government website giving free, impartial advice on money metters including the steps to consider if facing divorce or separation;
- St Luke’s Healthcare for the Clergy. Although the hospital is closed, healthcare is still available. It is working closely with Burrswood Christian Hospital and putting more emphasis on psychological as well as physical health;
- Cheap PC and Broadband Scheme backed by Microsoft, Talktalk, BT, Three and the Post Office to provide cheap computers and discount on broadband;
- Survivors voices – we exist to untap the expertise of people affected by abuse in order to change society’s response to trauma;
- Mind – We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Many charities provide specific support for different groups of people – some specifically for Anglicans where stated, others open to everyone. Some charities we have found useful include:-
The Clergy Support Trust (formerly Sons & Friends of the Clergy) helps Anglican clergy and their families in times of need. Thr trust may be able to provide specified grants to separated and divorced clergy spouses;
The Foundation of Edward Storey may provide help, grants and accommodation or offer a number of services to those professionally connected to the Church of England – at the discretion of their Trustees;
Independent Age (formerly RUKBA) primarily helps older people on low incomes remain in their homes as long as possible by offering regular financial support;
Smallwood Trust (formerly the Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances). Their mission is to enable women to become financially resilient by equipping them with the skills they need to secure a confident financial future.
Newton’s Trust may provide grants to divorced or separated spouses of Anglican Clergy and the Scottish Episcopal Church. Provide schemes to part rent and part buy or shared ownership etc. Phone 01543 306104
Church of Scotland Housing and Loan Fund supports separated or divorced spouses and separated civil partners of Church of Scotland Ministers.
ButtleUK may help with school fees and expenses for under 16s;
Rustats Grants at Schools may provide assistance to needy clergy whose children are being educated at maintained schools. Preference is given to clergy below incumbent status. Contact The Dean, Jesus College, Cambridge, CB5 8BL. Tel 01223 339421.
Bromley & Sheppard’s Colleges provides some housing for clergy widows, divorced and separated spouses in converted flats. Phone 020 8460 4712.
Were these links useful? Please let us know which links you found useful, what you would like to see, and if you would like to join Broken Rites.