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If You Experience Abuse

Abuse and unsafe situations and/or behaviours may be physical, verbal, visual or written, including use of emails and the Internet. They are often repeated, although if serious, only one incident is enough to be acted upon. Some conduct may not be abusive at first, but if the person initiating it continues the behaviour after being asked to stop, it may become harassment, bullying or abuse.

Abuse may take many forms including:

  • Bullying
  • Misuse of power
  • Inappropriate Physical Incidents
  • Inappropriate Verbal Incidents
  • Inappropriate Visual Materials
 
If you experience abuse in a Quaker meeting or activity, you may want to contact a SQC Contact Friend. You may contact  a Contact Friend in your Regional Meeting or any of the Contact Friends around the country. There is a link to a list of Contact Friends at the bottom of this page.You may alternately choose to speak to a trusted Friend, the Clerk of the Meeting or someone on the Oversight/Pastoral Care committee, who may refer you to one of the SQC contact Friends.
 
The SQC contact Friend will support and inform you and assist you to plan how you wish to proceed. Various options are open for consideration, including assisting you to deal with the situation yourself, referring the matter to the Oversight/Pastoral Care Committee, seeking outside expertise or referring to an outside agency (e.g. support or advice from other churches, medical attention, counselling, legal advice). If Friends consider the law may have been broken, the Police may need to be contacted.
 
Options for resolution may include speaking to the person, mediation or using various Quaker conflict resolution processes. The goal is to resolve the matter as satisfactorily as possible, providing healing, assistance to all persons affected, enhanced prevention of abuse and incorporating truth and justice.
 
Whatever the nature of the incident, all persons involved will be dealt with seriously, sensitively, supportively and compassionately.  All information will be treated confidentiality (subject to legal obligations, and the safety of others) unless you consent to disclosure.
 
The Oversight/Pastoral Care Committee, in consultation with the contact Friend and person complaining, will decide if an alleged serious incident will be reported to the police. The Committee and contact Friend will liaise with the AYM Secretary and Clerk regarding informing the Meeting’s insurer.
 
Care and support will be provided to all who are involved. 
 
When you meet with a SQC contact Friend they will:
  • arrange a suitable, private and uninterrupted meeting place.
  • explain the contact Friend role to you
  • establish mutual expectations of confidentiality
  • explain the process
  • listen actively to the details of the incident
  • discuss options with you
  • assist you to decide a course of action and,
  • assist you to put your plan into action in a timeframe you feel comfortable with
  • follow up with you on how you are going

You can find a list of the Safe Quaker Community Contact Friends in each Regional Meeting, with all contact details here. (This is found at the bottom of  the Regional Meeting Resources page.)