The National Assembly, with the support of each Synod, established a national framework for engagement with and response to the Royal Commission. An important part of the framework was to enable the various parts of the Uniting Church to act collaboratively and to speak with one voice when responding to the Royal Commission.
Our prayer is that through the work of the Royal Commission, there will be healing, justice and reconciliation for all those who have suffered, and that the learnings and recommendations from the Royal Commission will identify how all our children can be better protected from abuse now and into the future.
We once again offer our sincere apologies to all children in the Church’s care who suffered sexual abuse of any form, whether that abuse happened after Uniting Church union in 1977 or before that, in predecessor Churches and Children’s Homes.
Find out more about Redress.
Royal Commission Final Report
14 December 2017
The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, issued a Pastoral Statement to coincide with the end of the Royal Commission and in it he welcomed the Commission’s Final Report and thanked the Commissioners and staff for their work.
“We will consider the Final Report carefully, reflect on its findings and recommendations, and implement measures to deliver the best quality of care, service and support for children in our churches, agencies and schools,” said Stuart.
Commitment to Child Safety
The President continued:
“Our Church’s commitment is that we will seek to make amends and to strive to ensure others will not suffer as they have. Our prayers and a determined focus will be required if we are to build a robust culture of child safety”.
“With the collaboration of Synods and many others across our Church, we have begun applying the learnings of the Royal Commission through a National Child Safe Policy Framework”. The National Framework, its Implementation Plan and an Implementation Checklist are available here.
“I urge all Church members to remain vigilant, to ensure that wherever you are in our Church, agencies or schools, you are focussed on child safety.”
Policies and Guidelines
Here are a few key policies and guidelines that have been adopted by the Uniting Church, Western Australia Synod and the Uniting Church in Australia, Assembly.
- Safe Church Policy
- How to Handle Disclosures and Reporting Protocols
- Code of Ethics and Ministry Practice
- Adherent Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct Complaints Policy
- Code of Conduct for Lay Leaders
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations reflect ten child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission, and are the vehicle for giving effect to recommendations relating to the standards.
The 10 National Principles for Child Safe Organisations are:
- Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture.
- Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.
- Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.
- Equity is upheld and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.
- People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.
- Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.
- Staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children and young people safe through ongoing education and training.
- Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
- Implementation of the national child safe principles is regularly reviewed and improved.
- Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.
The Principles are underpinned by a child rights, strengths-based approach including emphasising:
- genuine engagement with children and young people;
- taking action to promote their right to safety and right to have their views heard;
- and prioritising the safety and wellbeing of children.
This type of approach acknowledges that children and young people gain great benefits when they are empowered to fully participate in various aspects of an organisation or service involving them. It also acknowledges that most organisations and their workers and volunteers want to do what is best for children and young people.
National Office of Child Safety
The National Office for Child Safety will lead the finalisation, national coordination and implementation of the National Principles, working with the National Children’s Commissioner, states and territories, and the non-government sector.
The WA Commissioner for Children and Young People has very good resources for implementing these 10 principles.
If you need assistance or have any questions about the Royal Commission, its Final Report and Recommendations; and the work we are doing in the church to promote and enhance child safety please contact:
Culture of Safety Executive Officer
Phone: 9260 9800