Late last month Uniting Church President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney attended the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing on redress and civil litigation.
Prof Dutney acknowledged the pain and suffering victims experienced and that the Church had come together in ways they had not done in the past, to prioritise the safety of children and to ensure survivors were helped and supported.
He stated that the Church welcomed the work of the Commission and the advice it could offer from its findings. Prof Dutney went on to report that all synods were auditing and updating policies and that the Uniting Church was developing a National Child Protection Framework drawing on the Church’s own learnings from survivors and findings of the Commission.
Anne Cross, CEO of UnitingCare Queensland, also attended the hearing.
Ms Cross advised that the Church supported a structure of redress for past abuse and that it was important to find solutions for survivors who may not want to pursue civil litigation or even want to deal with the institutions where they had experienced abuse.
Ms Cross highlighted that if the government failed to provide instruction following the handing down of the report, this would make redress harder, particularly when dealing with groups like insurers.
She reiterated that the Commission’s advice would be of particular assistance during the interim period before the government makes its final decisions.
The Chair of the Commission, the Hon Justice Peter McClellan acknowledged the work the Uniting Church had put into its submission and that it was evident the organisation had put a great deal of consideration into the related issues.
You can read the Uniting Church’s response to Issues Paper 6 – Redress Schemes here.