I welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of a National Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.
On my first day as Anglican Bishop of Tasmania in July 2000, I apologised to survivors of child sexual abuse by Anglican Church workers. Child sexual abuse is always wrong.
For the last 10 years I have been calling for a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. I am grateful that at last the Royal Commission will happen and I look forward to its terms of reference.
My hope and prayer is that this great evil will be thoroughly investigated, recommendations made to build a safer Australia for children and that these recommendations be implemented. I continue to pledge my full support to creating a safe society for all children.
My sincere thanks and congratulations to our Prime Minister.
The publicity surrounding this announcement will more than likely bring forward further revelations of child sexual abuse. We encourage people to contact the police. We also have a Help line number, 1800 017 286, for people to speak with Ms Annette Sims, the Director of Professional Standards. Please note the responsibility of all clergy and church workers is to report child abuse to the police or Department of Health and Human Services – 1300 737 639.
By way of background to our pastoral ministry, the Diocese of Tasmania conducted an Independent Pastoral Inquiry into child sexual abuse by church workers, Not the Way of Christ, which was released in 1998. This was followed by implementation of its recommendations, the establishment of the Pastoral Support and Assistance Scheme and the commencement of the Safe Church Communities program. The latter delivers both screening and training for church workers, including clergy, who work with children.
In 2009 the Anglican Church of Australia released the report of a major independent research project commissioned to help strengthen its child protection protocols. The study was prepared by leading child sexual abuse experts, Emeritus Professor Kim Oates AM of the Medical Faculty of the University of Sydney and Professor Patrick Parkinson of the University of Sydney Faculty of Law. The document, Study of Reported Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church, can be found at: http://www.anglican.org.au/governance/commissions/documents/professional-standards/study%20of%20reported%20child%20sexual%20abuse%20in%20the%20anglican%20church%20may%202009%20full%20report.pdf
All media inquiries about sexual abuse are to be directed to The Revd Stephen Carnaby, Diocesan Media Officer, 0417 343 710. As in the past, I will undertake responsibility as the spokesperson for the Diocese of Tasmania on child sexual abuse.
The Diocese is registered to receive communications from the Royal Commission.
You will find some media comment in the following:
I value your prayers for wisdom, justice and healing.