Church to develop national response to Royal Commission
The Uniting Church in Australia has begun work to develop a national response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The church’s National Response Task Group held its first meeting in Sydney this week.
The group’s primary purpose will be to develop a national response framework to assist the church, its councils, ministers, agencies and schools to respond positively to the Royal Commission.
The work of the task group will be adjusted in accordance with the Royal Commission’s terms of reference, when they are announced.
Part of that work will be an audit of current practices and processes to prevent the sexual abuse of children and to deal with allegations of sexual abuse (either current or historic) across the life of the church.
The national response framework will also address the appropriate processes to help survivors of sexual abuse tell their story.
Assembly General Secretary the Rev. Terence Corkin has been appointed the Convenor of the National Response Task Group. The group’s membership includes high level representatives of Uniting Church agencies and schools, as well as church members with experience in counselling survivors of sexual abuse and in the church’s internal procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.
The National Response Task Group was set up by the church’s Assembly Standing Committee at its meeting of November 18, 2012.
The Assembly reiterated its commitment to working openly and transparently with the Royal Commission.
“We continue to acknowledge the pain and suffering of all those who have experienced abuse in all circumstances, but particularly at the hand of institutions.
“And we remain steadfast in our hope that the Royal Commission will provide an opportunity for healing, justice and reconciliation for all those who have suffered.”