Statement re the investigation of safeguarding concerns relating to Mike Pilavachi
Many of our followers and supporters will be aware of the situation at the moment surrounding an investigation being made into allegations of safeguarding concerns regarding Mike Pilavachi; the co-leader of the Soul Survivor festivals and Soul Survivor Watford church.
I and all the directors at MASF want to be very open and clear about our concern for all those impacted by this situation, particularly for any potential victims of wrongdoing and for those for whom it has raised considerable distress.
We want to appropriately withhold any judgement and not make any assumptions of guilt. However, we do need to accept that a serious and protracted investigation is ongoing and that remaining silent is, for victims, (whatever the outcome of the investigation) neither supportive, compassionate, nor Christlike.
I know the tremendous courage it takes for victims of abuse to come forward and share what has happened to them. We would like to be clear that our thoughts, prayers and support are with those who are struggling as this investigation unfolds, especially those who are directly impacted.
I am also aware that for others, these revelations may have triggered difficult emotions, raising concerns around trust and safety. These may awaken particular experiences or simply provoke big questions about the festivals, the church and its associated ministries.
I recognise the very challenging dissonance many will be feeling - which I myself would echo - between the work that has been enabled by these ministries, and the safeguarding concerns that have clearly been raised. I personally have been involved as an external contributor both in the festivals and with the local church and community in Watford. I have spoken on mental health and wellbeing topics and offering guidance to a significant number of people and have connected them with support as a result. I hope and pray that these sessions (still available on the Soul Survivor websites ) will continue to bring hope and light to those who engage with them.
Our priority will always be the mental health and wellbeing of those who need our support. We would commend the work of 31:8 who have made their own statement about where people can go if they have concerns, particularly if they have information that may be related to the investigation. And we would encourage anyone struggling to find a safe space to share and talk - some organisations that can help are listed below.
We will update this statement when the conclusions of the investigation, and any actions advised, are released.
Dr Kate Middleton
Organisations for those needing support:
The Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123, or email email@example.com.
Premier Lifeline https://www.premierlifeline.org.uk is available by phone on 0300 111 0101 - 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday (excluding public holidays).
Text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK, to text with a trained volunteer at https://giveusashout.org.
Safe Spaces (https://www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk) is 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, the Catholic Church in England and Wales or the Church in Wales. You do not have to have told the police or the church authorities in order to receive their support. Contact them at 0300 303 1056 (09:00-21:00 Monday to Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NAPAC (The National Association for People Abused in Childhood, https://napac.org.uk) offers support to those recovering from childhood abuse. Call 0808 801 0331 (Mon-Thurs 10am-9pm; Friday 10am-6pm or email email@example.com.
Kate Middleton, 26/04/2023