Westminster Abbey is committed to ensuring that children, young people and adults at risk who come to visit us may worship, learn, and grow in Christ safely.
Westminster Abbey takes safeguarding very seriously. We are committed to protecting the welfare of children and of all adults who are vulnerable – whether that be our worshippers, visitors, clergy, staff or volunteers.
Westminster Abbey Safeguarding Lead is The Very Reverend David Hoyle MBE, Dean of Westminster.
The care and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in church activities is the responsibility of the whole church. The following safeguarding policy and its appendices outline how we will work to ensure this care and protection, and to promote a safer environment and working culture.
The policy includes sections on:
- Foreword by the Dean of Westminster
- Introduction and Scope of Policy
- Safeguarding procedures and practices
- Code of safer working practice
- Safer recruitment
- Safeguarding roles and responsibilities
- Who to contact if you have a concern
- Confidentiality and information sharing
- Responding to concerns and disclosures
- Whistleblowing and managing allegations against staff
- Spiritual Abuse
- General Guidance on Safeguarding
Westminster Abbey Safeguarding Policy 2022 (PDF, 491KB)
Safeguarding Reference Group
The Safeguarding Reference Group (SRG) works to ensure the highest standards of safeguarding are being met at Westminster Abbey. It reports directly to Chapter
The following annual reports are prepared by the independent chair of the SRG.
- Independent Annual Safeguarding Review 2021 (PDF, 271KB)
- Independent Annual Safeguarding Review 2020 (PDF, 263KB)
- Independent Annual Safeguarding Review 2019 (PDF, 293KB)
- Independent Annual Safeguarding Review 2018 (PDF, 115KB)
- Independent Annual Safeguarding Review 2017 (PDF, 119KB)
How to report a safeguarding concern
There are lots of ways to report a safeguarding concern, and the information you pass to us when reporting is kept private. However, if we need to do so to keep a child or vulnerable adult safe, we may share relevant information with statutory agencies, the Diocese of London, or other churches. Westminster Abbey electronically stores safeguarding reports in a secure database in line with data protection legislation.
If you are in the Abbey or on its grounds and you or someone you know is at risk of abuse, harm, neglect or exploitation, please find a member of Westminster Abbey Staff. The Stewards are dressed in red copes (gowns) and the Security Staff (Beadles) are in uniform. Similarly, if you witness an event you find worrying whilst in the Abbey, please make a member of our staff aware as soon as possible.
If you are not in the Abbey, or if you would prefer to communicate your concerns in writing, please:
- complete our safeguarding and mental health incident reporting (docx. 96KB) form with as much information as possible
- email it to [email protected]
During working hours, phone:
Please state that say that you would like to speak to someone about a safeguarding concern, or that you or someone else needs help. If they are not immediately available, someone will call you back.
Outside of working hours, the Christian safeguarding charity, 31:8, runs a free 24 hours a day helpline. You can contact them on
As with any emergency, call 999 if someone is at immediate risk.
If you would like further support, there are a wealth of different organisations who can provide advice and guidance, beyond the Abbey. These include:
- Age UK: Provides support and advice for older people.
Contact by phone: 0800 678 1602
8.00am - 7.00pm every day.
Visit the Age UK website
- Childline: Helpline for those 18 years or younger.
Contact by phone: 0800 1111, 24 hours a day
Visit the Childline website
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline: For women and children experiencing domestic violence and abuse.
Contact by phone: 0808 2000 247, 24 hours a day
Visit the National Domestic Abuse Helpline website
- Switchboard LGBT helpline: Supports those who are LGBTQ+.
Contact by phone: 0345 330 3030, 9.00am - 9.00pm, weekdays
Visit the Switchboard LGBT helpline website
- Respect Men's Advice Line For men experiencing domestic violence and abuse. Contact by phone: 0808 801 0327. 9.00am - 8.00pm, weekdays
Respect Men's Advice Line
- National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC): Supports recovery from childhood abuse.
Contact by phone: 0808 801 0331, 10.00am - 9.00pm, Monday - Thursday; 10.00am - 6.00pm, Friday
Visit the NAPAC website
- NSPCC helpline: Provides advice on child protection across a range of sectors. Contact by 0808 800 5000. 8.00am - 10.00pm, weekdays; 9.00am - 6.00pm weekends
Visit the NSPCC helpline website
- Samaritans: For those who are struggling to cope or having suicidal thoughts Contact by phone: 116 123, 24 hours a day
Visit the Samaritans website.