Abuse in Religious Settings

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Abuse in Religious Contexts

An AHRC-funded research project run by the Department of Religious Studies

Abuse in Religious Settings is a research project which will extend understanding of abuse across a wide range of religious contexts.

This project is concerned with abuse in a range of different religious communities and traditions and seeks to understand commonalities and differences across them.

We are exploring the role that the cultures and structures of faith communities play in relation to abuse; how legal, policy and safeguarding approaches are best developed in relation to religious contexts; and similarities and differences in survivors’ experiences.

We regard survivors – and their experiences – as central to this work and have been working with survivors both to guide the design of our work and as key sources of insight. We recognise that survivors’ experiences have included damaging institutional responses, being insufficiently heard in consultations, and cynicism at repeated reviews which have not led to effective change. The members of our project team are aware of this, both through their previous academic and professional work and, for some, their own experience of abuse as well.

We recognise that all research projects have their limitations and that undertaking sensitive research like this will be an on-going learning process for any research team. We know that, within the limits of this project, we will not capture every possible survivor voice or experience. We will therefore be careful not to claim that our findings definitively represent the views and experiences of all survivors, but are intended to be a contribution to inform further thinking in policy debates, public organisations and faith communities.

We will be undertaking our main research activities during the academic year 2022-23 and will begin to share findings from these during 2023-24.

If you have any questions or issues you would like to raise about the project, please email us at airs@kent.ac.uk