Diocese of Carlisle

    Cathedral’s LOUDfence launched in support of sexual abuse survivors

    Latest News
    1 Nov. 2021

    A special LOUDfence installation in support of survivors of sexual abuse has been launched at Carlisle Cathedral today.

    The LOUDfence runs along the south side of the building, with people encouraged to tie ribbons to it, to stop and reflect and to pray for all those affected by abuse in any context.

    It will be in place until Wednesday 3 November – All Survivors Day – which will also mark the end of a Safeguarding Season which has run at the Cathedral since Sunday 10 October.

    Officially launching the installation, the Dean of Carlisle, the Very Rev Mark Boyling, led prayers and pronounced a blessing.

    He told those gathered: “Our great hope is that as people tie ribbons to the fence, as they read the texts and think about what they say, there will also be ways in which God’s loving purposes are brought to mind and made real to us.”

    In prayer he added: “Our great prayer, loving Father is that this Cathedral church may be a place of welcome, security and compassion for all.”

    The Dean was joined by the Mayor of Carlisle, Cllr Pamela Birks, and Antonia Sobocki, a representative of Survivors Voices who tied ribbons to the fence on behalf of those affected by abuse.

    It was Antonia who first approached the Cathedral about running a LOUDfence event, having organized the UK’s first LOUDfence event at St Peter’s, Kirkbampton, last year.

    Since promotion of the Cathedral’s LOUDfence installation began she has received dozens of requests from survivors and relatives across the world for ribbons and messages to be tied to the Carlisle fence. It meant that scores of ribbons and messages could be tied to the fence ready for the launch.

    Antonia, who also represents the international group Ending Clergy Abuse, said: “It feels really validating for this LOUDfence to be launched. I feel like I’m doing something to get voices out there of those people who have been hurt or silenced. They’re not locked in their box; they are free to just be themselves without putting up a façade of normality for everyone else’s benefit. It’s really freeing.

    “For me a Cathedral is a place of sanctuary; when you are in peril it’s a place you are supposed to run to. And that’s the sense I’ve had being part of the Cathedral’s working group on this. There’s been no deference or defensiveness. There’s been a group of people all wanting to work together to do something to try to help those people who have been affected.”

    The Safeguarding Season has included a Safeguarding Sunday service, weekly Eucharist services focusing on the themes of truth and justice, and a dedicated place of prayer in a side chapel with opportunity to light candles and tie coloured ribbons to a prayer tree. Pastoral support is also being offered to anyone affected by abuse and who makes an approach for further help.

    There are plans to develop a further Safeguarding Seasons next year, with the Cathedral keen to share resources and ideas with churches across the county.

    Anyone affected by issues raised above is encouraged to contact Safe Spaces: an independent service supporting survivors of church-related abuse.

    This independent service is run by the charity Victim Support and funded by the Church of England together with the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church in Wales. It is free to access via telephone, email or web-chat.

    Tel: 0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times)

    Email: safespaces@victimsupport.org.uk

    WebChat - via the Safe Spaces website


    Notes to editors

    For more about the Safeguarding Season visit: https://carlislecathedral.org.uk/safeguarding/season/

    For more about Survivors Voices visit: https://survivorsvoices.org/

    For more about Loudfence visit: https://survivorsvoices.org/activism/loudfence/

    or https://www.facebook.com/loudfence/

    For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Head of Communications, on 07469 153658 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.