Tackling abuse in religious communities

Tackling abuse in religious communities

Online ticket sales for this event have now closed. However, there will be availability for tickets to be purchased on the door.

Organisers: National Secular Society
Date: Sunday 17 March 2024 14:00-17:00
Venue: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL
Fee: £5 members, £10 non-members (you can join the NSS here)

While many religious organisations are an important source of support and solace for their communities, they can also offer people in positions of great trust and authority access to children and vulnerable adults.

For this reason, religious communities are frequent targets of abusers. And unscrupulous religious institutions are often well-placed and strongly motivated to cover up incidents of abuse and exploitation.

In this National Secular Society event, a panel of experts will talk about the current threats to safeguarding in a variety of religious settings, and what institutions and authorities need to do to ensure all people in all communities are protected from abuse. They will also discuss how to ensure perpetrators and enablers of abuse are held to account, and abuse victims and survivors get justice.


Yehudis Fletcher
Yehudis Fletcher is co-founder of Nahamu, a think tank countering extremism and culturally specific harm in the Jewish community. She is an independent sexual violence adviser, and has been battling violence against women and girls for the past decade. She took part in the Susi Bradfield women's Leadership Program at London School of Jewish Studies and is a graduate of the United Jewish Israel Appeal's Manchester Leadership Program and the Dangoor Senior Leadership Program. She is a graduate of social policy at Salford University and is a research fellow at the University of Kent's department of religious studies. Her masters is in Religion and Theology.

Rachael Reign
Rachael Reign is the founder and lead campaigner of Surviving Universal UK, a movement for survivors of the highly controversial Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG). Her most successful project to date was a recent BBC Panorama exposing the harmful practices of the UCKG in the UK. Rachael is an activist who has championed raising awareness about the dangers of high control religious groups, with an emphasis on the movement's ethos, 'Accountability is not Persecution'. Rachael was involved in the UCKG for a number of years, and feels her lived experiences and insight can be used to better understand cultic abuse and how these groups often exploit policies while taking advantage of religious freedoms.

Richard Scorer
Richard Scorer is vice president of the National Secular Society and works as a lawyer, specialising in representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse. In his work over the last 25 years he has represented hundreds of victims of clerical sex abuse and has also written extensively about abuse in religious settings - his book Betrayed: The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis was published by Biteback Books in 2014. He has been heavily involved in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).