“… the fundamental object of redress must be to help those who have suffered to heal and live a productive and fulfilled life”.
Justice Peter McClellan, Chair, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
The Uniting Church in Australia has expressed its support for a truly independent national redress scheme, which provides justice, certainty, equity, transparency and consistency in redress for all survivors.
The Synod of Western Australia is also committed to doing all we can to provide fair, consistent and compassionate redress measures for survivors who were sexually abused as children while in our care.
The Royal Commission reported more than 2500 allegations to police from which 230 prosecutions have been commenced. More than 1300 survivors also provided a written account of their experiences. Every person who attended a private session was invited to contribute a short anonymous “Message to Australia”. These powerful messages have been published on the Royal Commission’s website and in a volume which will be kept in the National Library of Australia.
The Uniting Church has continued to work constructively with Government and other stakeholders for a truly national redress scheme, as the most equitable way to support survivors wherever they might be.
“We must never forget the courage of survivors who’ve come forward to tell their stories in public and in private,” said the Uniting Church’s President Stuart McMillan.
“Our Church’s commitment is that we will seek to make amends and 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.
In December 2018, the Uniting Church in Australia provided the Federal Government with its application and supporting documentation to participate in the National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse. The Church’s national council the Assembly submitted information from all six Uniting Church Synods to be covered through the UCA’s participation in the Scheme to the Department of Social Services in Canberra.
The submission followed months of work in cooperation with the Department and Uniting Church bodies across the country. In that time the Church has established a national vehicle for dealing with redress claims for survivors of child sexual abuse. The Department will advise in due course when the UCA will be an operational member of the NRS.
President Dr Deidre Palmer has affirmed the Uniting Church’s commitment to the National Redress Scheme and acknowledged the pain caused for survivors, who are waiting to access redress through the National Redress Scheme.
“For those who might have been concerned about our commitment, please be assured that we are working to make amends and to ensure that our Church has a strong and robust culture of child safety that empowers children and adults in our care.”
Dr Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia
“For anyone who was abused in the care of the Uniting Church, in our churches, schools or agencies, I’d again like to apologise sincerely. I am truly sorry that we didn’t protect and care for you in accordance with our Christian values,” said Dr Palmer.”
We encourage survivors to make an application for redress under the Government’s National Redress Scheme.
Free legal advice from knowmore which is an independent service assisting survivors of abuse by providing them with information and advice about the justice and redress options that may be available to them. Their specialist counsellors/social workers will support you in obtaining their services. If you require further support, they will also help you to access the most appropriate services. Free advice line 1800 605 762. https://knowmore.org.au/about-us/
Blue Knot Foundation
Free confidential support can be obtained by ringing a qualified counsellor at the Blue Knot Foundation helpline on: 1300 657 380. https://www.blueknot.org.au/
West Australian resource service for adults who were in any type of out-of-home care during childhood, including foster care and children’s Homes. The governing body is Forgotten Australians Coming Together Inc. (FACT).
Visit their website at: https://www.tuartplace.org/
If you need help urgently, please contact the following 24-hour support services:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
All enquiries are confidential and are treated in a timely and sensitive way.
Phone: 9260 9800
The Uniting Church in Australia, WA Synod
GPO Box M952
Perth WA 6843
Phone: (08) 9260 9800 or 1300 736 692
Postal Address: GPO Box M952, Perth WA 6843
Physical Address: 85-89 Edward St, Perth