The Uniting Church in Australia will appear at a public hearing for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuses in Sydney today.
President Stuart McMillan, Assembly general secretary Colleen Geyer and Queensland general secretary Rev Heather den Houting will answer questions about the Uniting Church’s current child-protection and child-safety standards, including responses to allegations of child sexual abuse.
The hearing will also look into factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Uniting Church institutions in the past and factors that may have affected the Church’s response to child sexual abuse allegations.
VicTas moderator Rev Sharon Hollis and VicTas general secretary Rev Dr Mark Lawrence will be at the hearing to observe the proceedings.
The public hearing begins at 10am with Case 54, which will examine the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ response to child sexual abuse.
The Uniting Church, Case 56, is scheduled to appear at 2pm.
In a pastoral letter addressed to the whole of the Church, Mr McMillan asked congregations to pray for those who have suffered abuse and those involved in the Royal Commission.
“Child sexual abuse is an insidious crime to which the Royal Commission has proved that faith-based institutions are particularly vulnerable,” Mr McMillan said in the letter.
“May God grant us the strength of character and unity of purpose to follow through with the hard work required to honour our pledge of a safe church for children in the years ahead.”
The hearing will be live streamed from the Royal Commission website. The content may be distressing for some viewers. If you or someone you know needs help, please call:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467