Royal Commission

Public hearing into Anglican Institutions

Opening address by Gail Furness SC for Case Study 52:

Text of opening statement by General Synod General Secretary Anne Hywood to final public hearing into the Anglican Church.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Abuse in any form is abhorrent.  Child sexual abuse is particularly offensive and inexcusable, involving as it does offences against the most vulnerable members of humankind.  Child abuse is denial of Christ’s teachings and concern for children
(Mark 10:13)

It is indeed shameful that some perpetrators of child sexual abuse have been clergy and lay members of the Church.  In the past, the Church tended to act to protect and defend the reputation of the institution rather than uphold the dignity of the victims and acknowledge their pain and grief. That is no longer the case.  The victims and survivors, including their families, are and must be our primary focus.

The Anglican Diocese of Perth welcomes the Royal Commission, acknowledges its terms of reference and has assured the Commission of its willingness to assist and cooperate with it.

All Anglican parishes, agencies, schools and institutions in the Diocese of Perth have been advised to co-operate fully with the Royal Commission and they have been asked to:

  1. invite their members and staff with complaints of child sexual abuse and related matters involving the Church, its clergy and lay people to come forward; and
  2. provide details of their current policies and procedures for handling complaints of child sexual abuse and related matters.

The Diocese of Perth invites members of the general public with complaints of child sexual abuse and related matters involving the Anglican Church to come forward, if they have not already done so.

The principal point of contact in relation to the Royal Commission is, the Royal Commission itself (telephone numbers can be found on the Royal Commission website). The Director of Professional Standards, for the Diocese of Perth is, Ms Tracie Chambers-Clark. Ms Chambers-Clark can be contacted on 08 9325 7455.

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Prayer for Royal Commission
Taken from

Almighty God,
Lord of truth and grace,
hear our prayers for the Royal Commission into
Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Grant the Commissioners wisdom and strength,
the patience to weigh testimony,
insight to pose questions,
and success in all their deliberations
for the health of our nation.

Above all, most merciful Father,
grant to victims of abuse
the courage to tell their stories,
strength to endure pain,
and healing for their wounds.
In their sorrow, give them your peace.

And refine your people, Sovereign Lord.
By the light of your truth expose in full
the darkness in our institutions.
Inspire remorse and establish justice.

Forgive us.
By your Spirit renew us,
for the good of all
and the glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,

(Prepared for Australian churches and Christian organisations by the Centre for Public Christianity, Sydney)

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