Diocese of Carlisle

    Statement - St Monica's Maternity Home

    Latest News
    17 Oct. 2023

    The following statement from the Diocese of Carlisle has been issued following accounts received from Mr Stephen Hindley about historical abuse suffered by his wife, Judith, and which focus on the Diocese of Carlisle's former St Monica's Maternity home.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Hindley and his family after he came forward with accounts of historical abuse suffered by his wife, Judith, and which centre on the Diocese of Carlisle’s former St Monica’s Maternity Home.

    It is shocking to learn of such mistreatment, and we offer our sincere apologies and deepest sympathy to Mr Hindley and his family. Huge trust will have been placed on those who supported the young women and girls at St Monica’s, and we are truly sorry if that trust was breached in the care of Mrs Hindley and her baby, Stephen, leading to her long-term mental health issues.

    Our Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser reached out to Mr Hindley at the earliest opportunity, and he has since made contact to detail the account of his wife’s treatment at the home and the lasting impact it has had. We are grateful for him coming forward and fully appreciate how difficult and upsetting a process this continues to be for him and his family. We are committed to continue to work alongside Mr Hindley as he seeks answers and furthermore, we are fully prepared to co-operate with other statutory agencies as necessary.

    We would also welcome the opportunity to speak with Michael Lambert from the University of Lancaster as to the findings of his research and how this may feed into any subsequent investigation.

    There are a number of archived records appertaining to St Monica’s which are held at the county’s archive centre in Carlisle. We will work alongside both Westmorland and Furness Council and Cumberland Council to establish protocols by which records could be made available to the families of loved ones who spent time at the home. Understandably, if there are such requests it would be essential that all data is properly and securely handled to protect the privacy of other families.

    We also appreciate that there may be other people who have connections to St Monica’s Home and who been affected by issues raised here and need further support. They can contact our Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Joanna Van Lachterop, on 07458 016884 or at safeguarding.adviser@carlislediocese.org.uk.

    Alternatively, people may wish to contact Safe Spaces, a free and independent support service, providing a confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused by someone in the Church or as a result of their relationship with the Church of England. Safe Spaces can be contacted by telephone on 0300 303 1056 (answerphone available outside of opening times) or via email at safespaces@firstlight.org.uk. A dedicated Safe Spaces team is available through the helpline from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and 1pm to 5pm on Sundays. A member of the Safe Spaces team will make contact within 48 hours of a contact request or referral."


    Notes to editors

    St Monica’s Maternity Home was operated by the Diocese of Carlisle from 1918 to 1970 in Kendal, based from 1933 at a property on Dalton Drive. The home closed on 9 June, 1970.

    The building was vested in Trustees and its work managed by a committee consisting of a representative appointed by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Diocesan Council for Social and Moral Welfare and its five Federated Associations, five participating Local Authorities and members elected by subscribers at the Annual General Meetings.

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