End abuse in religious settings

End abuse in religious settings

Religious privilege must not undermine safeguarding and justice.

Religious organisations and communities are frequent targets of abusers.

Religious institutions are often well-placed and strongly motivated to cover up incidents of sexual and physical abuse.

We work to hold these organisations to account and get justice for abuse victims and survivors.

Many religious organisations enjoy a close relationship with the establishment and tend to see themselves as above the law. This can increase the risk of abuse, prevent perpetrators from facing justice, and impede efforts to support and compensate victims and survivors of abuse.

Those intent on abuse are often attracted to religious institutions. Such organisations give access to, and sometimes extreme control over, numerous children and vulnerable adults.

When abuse does occur, religious organisations often act to protect the reputation of the institution above the rights of the victim. They may pressure the victim to stay silent and move the perpetrator to somewhere unaware of their reputation.

Many religious institutions also have influence and connections that enable them to evade justice and scrutiny, often for decades.

All forms of abuse, be they sexual, physical or psychological, can cause serious harm. Victims of abuse in religious settings have suffered physical and mental health problems, including addiction, self-harm and suicide.

Abuse can take place in any religious setting. That's why we work at the national and international level to hold religious organisations to account for safeguarding failings, and to ensure victims and survivors can get justice.

Take action!

1. Share your story

Tell us why you support this campaign, and how you are personally affected by the issue. You can also let us know if you would like assistance with a particular issue.

2. Write to your MP

Ask your MP to support our work to end abuse in religion settings

3. Join the National Secular Society

Become a member of the National Secular Society today! Together, we can separate religion and state for greater freedom and fairness.

Latest updates

Image: Hardial Singh on Unsplash

NSS signs statement opposing religious ‘courts’

Posted: Wed, 22 May 2024 09:53

Over 50 groups and individuals sign statement calling for "one law for all".


Expert on abuse law: mandatory reporting proposals “lack teeth”

Posted: Wed, 15 May 2024 15:56

Religious groups which covered up child sexual abuse "unlikely to be troubled" by proposed law