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Sunday, 28 October, 2001, 03:25 GMT
Vicars 'victims of physical abuse'
generic shot of altar
Many attacks take place in churches
The majority of Anglican clergy have been verbally abused or threatened in the past two years.

An academic study found that one in eight priests has been physically assaulted with many of the attacks taking place in church grounds.

The University of London survey questioned nearly 1,000 Anglican clergy in the south east of England.

It found that priests are more likely to be assaulted at work than GPs or probation officers.

Twelve per cent of them said they had been physically attacked in the past two years.

The priests said they had suffered verbal and physical abuse from a wide number of assailants ranging from people begging for money at the vicarage door to known members of the congregation denied their preferred date for a wedding.

Many priests feel they have a duty to provide spiritual support to disturbed and violent members of the community.

But almost 90% said they had received no training in how to deal with aggressive people.

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The BBC's John Sudworth
"Priests are more likely to be assaulted at work than GP's or Probation Officers"
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14 Nov 00 | UK
Who wants to be a vicar?
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