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We are committed to safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults to worship and grow in Christ safely. We value and respect everyone we work with and our safeguarding team endeavours to be as relational, transparent and proportionate as possible.

Join churches across the diocese this November and mark Safeguarding Sunday. Register here for a free resource pack.

You'll find links to safer recruitment, DBS guidance and safeguarding training in the navigation links of this page. Scroll down to meet the team and find out when and how to call them.

What to do if you have a safeguarding concern

If someone is in immediate danger

If you have information about a safeguarding situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger, or requires immediate medical attention, call emergency services on 999.

If there is no risk of immediate harm

If you do not think there is a risk of immediate harm, you must speak to an official about your concern as soon as possible. When first reporting a concern, please be sure to make contact using the information shown here.

  • During office hours
    Call 01865 208 295 or email for urgent safeguarding concerns Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm and Fri 9am-4.30pm. You can also contact your local officer:

    Buckingham - Interim contact Louise Whitehead, Head of Safeguarding - 07391 868478 (New Casework Adviser starting in Mid-August) 

    Oxford and Dorchester - Erica Hegg : 07341 866 832

    Berkshire - Charlotte Wilmshurst: 07443 700159

    All phone or email referrals to the safeguarding team must be followed up by completing the Safeguarding referral form.

    Complete the referral form online

    If you have any problems with the online form, you can download a copy (for Microsoft Word or as a PDF) and return it to

  • At other times
    For urgent safeguarding enquiries outside of operational hours, please call our partners Thirtyone:eight on +44 (0) 303 003 1111 for confidential advice, guidance and support.
  • Don't forget
    Your Parish Safeguarding Officer is also a local first point of contact for reporting safeguarding concerns. If you are concerned that a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of harm, you should approach your local Children's Social Care or Adult's Social Care department.
  • If you have a non-urgent enquiry
    We can give you advise on non-urgent matters too - send us an email at
When should I contact the diocesan safeguarding team? (click here)

A referral to the diocesan safeguarding team must be made about any case where a child or vulnerable adult appears to be at risk or where an adult appears to present a risk.

The diocesan safeguarding team must also be informed straight away of any safeguarding concerns involving a church officer. A church officer is anyone appointed/elected by or on behalf of the Church to a post or role, whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid.

Speed of response

The diocesan safeguarding team are committed to responding to safeguarding concerns, providing advice if you are not sure what to do, and supporting survivors in an efficient and effective way. We are not able to offer an emergency or 24-hour response. 

The team aim to acknowledge receipt of all referrals within 48 hours. A team member will contact the referrer, in accordance with case prioritisation, to discuss the referral further.

Meet our safeguarding team

Louise Whitehead

Head of Safeguarding


07391 868 478

Louise joined the diocese in 2022 and brings experience and expertise from working in children and young people’s social work practice and management for Oxfordshire County Council. Louise qualified as a social worker in 2014. She has been involved in management, training and promoting best practice within the local authority. 

Prior to this, Louise worked in international development and completed doctoral research at Oxford Brookes while living in Cambodia.

Read more about Louise.


Safeguarding Casework Officer for Buckinghamshire

Please contact the Head of Safeguarding or for any Buckingham enquiries.

Erica Hegg

Safeguarding Casework Officer for Oxford and Dorchester


07341 866 832

Erica has been employed by the diocese since April 2021. Erica served with Wiltshire Police as a detective constable, specialising in child sexual exploitation.

Erica has experience of investigating serious and complex crime, skilled in public protection (child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, vulnerable adults and management of sex offenders). She worked in a multi-agency environment with children services, probation, education, NHS and HM prison.

Charlotte Wilmshurst

Safeguarding Casework Officer for Berkshire


07443 700 159

Charlotte (also known as Charlie) joined the team in May 2022. Charlie worked as a Civilian Investigator with Thames Valley Police in the Violent and Sex Offender Register and Domestic Abuse teams.

Charlie has experience of investigating medium and high risk domestic abuse cases, where she was awarded a commendation for her outstanding work with survivors. She also has experience in the management and risk assessments of sex offenders. She has gained a wealth of experience working with several teams within Thames Valley Police including the Multi Agency Safeguarding Team, Monitoring Oxford City CCTV, 999 Call Taker - Control Room. Charlie has also managed two Extra Case Housing facilities supporting vulnerable residents and leading the care teams.

Helen Walker 

Safeguarding Training & Policy Adviser


01865 587041

Linda Carpenter

Safeguarding Training & DBS Administrator


01865 208 267

Linda joined the team in January 2018, previously working as a classroom assistant supporting pupils with additional needs and later as the Business Manager of a primary school.

Linda has a good understanding of the need for robust safeguarding procedures and training, central to protecting children and supporting those working in this environment. Linda has also been appointed as parish representative to the Deanery Synod. 

Rowan Lake

HR and Safeguarding Administrator


01865 208 295

Rowan joined the HR and Safeguarding team in March 2021. Rowan worked as a brokerage officer for Oxfordshire County Council’s Children’s Service, negotiating placements for Oxfordshire’s looked-after children. Rowan also worked for Oxfordshire County Council, providing administrative support to senior management within the Children’s Service.

Rowan has worked within the NHS as a GP administrator and has also worked for Thames Valley Police as a 999/101 call taker.

Poli Shajko

Director of Human Resources and Safeguarding


01865 208 770

Poli leads the development and implementation of the diocesan HR and Safeguarding strategy for both clergy and employees. Poli is a Chartered Fellow of CIPD, supported by an MA in Human Resource Management. 

What if I'm not happy
If you are not satisfied with the service you have received as a result of the diocese handling a safeguarding concern or allegation, you should follow the Safeguarding Complaints Policy and Procedure and/or refer to the When Things Go Wrong leaflet summarising the process.
What does the diocesan safeguarding team do?

We offer advice, support and guidance to anyone in the diocese about all aspects of safeguarding.

This may include:

  • Advice and support: telephone, email and face-to-face consultation about a range of issues.
  • Policy and practice: signposting to national and local policies and practice guidance.
  • Training: safeguarding training to clergy and other leaders, including on-site training and online.
  • Casework: management of complex cases, joint-working with statutory agencies, consultation and advice.
  • Support for survivors: direct support and advice, provision of Authorised Listeners.
Key facts about safeguarding in the Diocese of Oxford

We have:

  • Grown our safeguarding team to 5.8 full-time equivalent staff.
  • Ensured the independent chair of the safeguarding panel can, and does, hold the diocese to account.
  • Systematically trained clergy and church officers in safeguarding, including training for the senior team.
  • In 2021, the team trained 4,901 participants, through the delivery of 96 training modules and the completion of online training, supported 20 volunteer trainers and provided guidance to 423 parish safeguarding officers.
  • Delivered a culture change in the handling of safeguarding disclosures.
  • Increased our corporate understanding of the nature of abuse and increased awareness of those who are isolated or lonely being at risk of abuse.

There is always more to be done. We see learning as central to the culture of a safe church. Find out more about the work of our independent safeguarding panel. 

Read our safeguarding privacy policy.

Safeguarding newsletters

Our newsletter brings together the latest safeguarding information from across the diocese so we can better protect children and vulnerable adults involved in the life of the Church.

Subscribe now

How to contact the National Safeguarding Team (NST)

If you wish to report any safeguarding concerns directly to the National Safeguarding Team at Church House Westminster, please email


Further safeguarding resources and information...

Finding support

Support options available across the Thames Valley.

Parish safeguarding

Safeguarding information for parishes, including the parish dashboard and local parish officer list.

Safeguarding training

Safeguarding training dates and booking information.

Complaints & whistleblowing

Guidance on complaints and whistleblowing procedures.

Safer recruitment & DBS

Resources and information relating to Safer Recruitment and DBS.

Safeguarding panel

Information on the diocesan safeguarding panel and their work.

Templates & resources

Templates and resources for parish safeguarding.

Learning reviews

The use and purpose of safeguarding learning reviews in the Diocese of Oxford.

Past cases review 2

About the PCR2 review process and key contacts.

Page last updated: Wednesday 10th August 2022 1:40 PM
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