‘I was handed over to the dogs’:lived experience, clerical trauma and the handling of complaints against clergy in the Church of England


In 2019/20 the Sheldon Community sponsored a very large online survey of Church of England Clergy in collaboration with Aston University. It arose from concerns about accounts emerging from clergy with personal experience of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 (CDM). As well as formal CDM, the survey captured experiences across a wide spectrum of processes including stage one ‘informal’ CDM, safeguarding assessments, other named procedures, and discipline exercised outside any recognised process or accountability. The responses from those who experienced formal CDM (after the letter from the Registrar) are examined elsewhere. This report focusses on all the other categories. The impact of these processes on the cleric’s ministry and on their emotional well-being is assessed using methods of thematic content analysis. The use and misuse of formal and informal processes may result in significant losses to the affected individuals and their families, long term damage to relationships within the parish, and losses to the wider church. The practical, emotional and spiritual impact may be traumatic and abiding. The CDM is slated for replacement. This research demonstrates the necessity of doing so with a deep understanding of the risks that may accumulate in the penumbra of a flawed Measure.

Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: © Sarah Horsman (Warden of Sheldon), Lynda Barley (Open University), Maureen Wright (University of Chichester), Alena Nash (Aston University) and Carl Senior (Aston University). (2021).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Church of England Clergy Discipline Measure,diocesan bishops,senior clergy and diocesan staff,informal grievance procedures,safeguarding,trauma,anxiety and depression,pastoral care
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 13:09
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2021 10:51
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.she ... ogs%20final.pdf (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Other report
Published Date: 2021-05-25
Authors: Horseman, Sarah
Barley, Lynda
Wright, Maureen
Nash, Alena
Senior, Carl (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2155-4139)



Version: Published Version

License: ["licenses_description_unspecified" not defined]

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