Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
This webpage is solely dedicated to the Royal Commission to provide information, statements and updates regarding the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held a public hearing into the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle at Newcastle Courthouse from Tuesday, 2 August 2016. The Royal Commission continued its public hearing into the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle in Sydney on 16 November 2016. It sat from Wednesday 16 November to Friday 18 November and from Wednesday 23 to Thursday 24 November.
Read the Statement from Bishop Peter Stuart in response to the Report on Case Study 42:
Response to case study 42
Shaping a Healthy Future
For five years Anglican Church Newcastle has been engaged with the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. We have faced our past failures and the profound impact on people across this region.
Each year around 300 people from the parishes, schools and agencies gather at a meeting with the Anglican Bishop in an event called Synod to deliberate on Anglican Church life. The Bishop and Synod have expressed their sincere apology to survivors of abuse. They have committed the Anglican Church Newcastle to do all that is necessary to provide redress and support to survivors.
Since we began paying redress, 38 people have applied, or are highly likely to apply, for redress. These applications relate to 19 perpetrators. Our current estimated total for redress (excluding ongoing counselling costs) is $10,982,000 of which $7,807,000 has been paid. Anglican Church Newcastle is committed to meeting the ongoing counselling expenses of survivors. It is waiting on the Government and the Anglican Church nationally so that it can join the National Redress Scheme.
The Diocese looks forward to the NSW Government making the changes that would allow Anglican Church Newcastle to be a designated agency for the purposes of child protection under the NSW Ombudsman Act. Please download the Child Safety and Redress Report Card to find out how we are addressing the Child Safe Standards.
About The Royal Commission
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
It is the job of the Royal Commission to uncover where systems have failed to protect children so it can make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices.
The Royal Commission is about creating a safer future for children. It can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children. This includes where an organisation caring for a child is responsible for the abuse or for not responding appropriately, regardless of where or when the abuse took place.
What is a Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is a special investigation into a matter of great importance. In this case, it is the sexual abuse of children within Australian institutions.
Visit the Royal Commission website to find out more.
Facing The Past, Shaping A Healthy Future
On Wednesday June 17,2015, Bishop Greg Thompson made a media statement concerning our church’s response to child abuse and an update on present initiatives in working for a healthier future.
To find out more about the Facing the past: shaping a healthy future initiative, please visit: http://www.newcastleanglicanhealthyfuture.com/
To you who have experienced abuse I want you to know as a Diocese we feel shame and profound regret that people within the Church harmed you and harmed you again when you came forward to speak of what had happened.
Bishop Greg Thompson
17 June 2015
Other videos on Facing the Past, Shaping a Healthy Future
Telling Your Story
Contacting NSW Police
The NSW Police are interested in receiving any information about criminal activity associated with the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle including sexual abuse or the concealing of sexual abuse.
People with information can call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000
Make an online anonymous confidential report via the Crimestoppers website
Contacting The Royal Commission
You can contact the Royal Commission by calling 1800 099 340
Write to GPO Box 5283 Sydney NSW 2001
Contacting The Diocesan Director Of Professional Standards
If you would like to speak with the Diocesan Director of Professional Standards you can call 1800 774 945
Write confidentially to the Director of Professional Standards directly at: Anglican Diocese of Newcastle PO Box 494 Newcastle NSW, 2300
Discussing child sexual abuse can be difficult. The Royal Commission has reminded us that is especially so for survivors telling their story for the first time, their families and professional staff supporting them.
The Royal Commission provides an extensive list of care and support services which can be found at Support Services. These services connect people with counsellors or special support groups.
Services marked as “Government Funded” have been funded by the Australian Government to assist people affected by child abuse.
If you need immediate support call Lifeline on 13 11 14
All services listed are provided by organisations external to the Royal Commission and the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.
For more, visit: http://www.newcastleanglicanhealthyfuture.com/seeking-support
The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle takes allegations of misconduct and abuse seriously.
Professional Standards Protocols provide formal procedures for handling complaints of misconduct.
We welcome and encourage people with concerns to come forward by speaking with a contact person.
Contact persons are trained to listen, will maintain confidentiality, can help you to understand the processes involved and if required, can assist in documenting the complaint.
If you would like to speak with someone please phone 1800 774 945.
For more information visit the Professional Standards page.
Download a Professional Standards Poster here.
Shaping A Healthy Future
The Diocese has introduced a number of positive new measures, protocols and programs to assist both victims and parishes in dealing with the impact of sexual abuse including:
- The establishment of Parish Recovery Teams based on a model which was developed from research in similar responses to child abuse in Canada, the United States and Australia;
- A resolution at our Synod where the Diocese moved to apologise unreservedly to those who have been harmed by sexual abuse, this was adopted by all 63 parishes; and
- Operating a nationally recognised best practice redress program for survivors of abuse. To date we have provided more than $5million in redress to victims.
Our Professional Standards Department have worked with hundreds of survivors of abuse to provide them ongoing support and assistance. Survivors are our first concern and we encourage everyone who has been abused or who has information about abuse to come forward – you will be heard and your matters will be taken very seriously.
We are building safe churches to ensure church is safe for all to attend. All 1157 people working with children or youth in ministry have completed Safe Ministry Training, and all 904 clergy, staff and volunteers are subject to strict employment measures such as working with children checks.
The Diocese of Newcastle is committed to Facing the Past and Shaping a Healthy Future.
Statements and Media Releases
Statement from Bishop Greg Thompson – 24 November 2016
Statement from the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle – September 2016
Media release – Royal Commmision Case studies 5 July 2016
Public hearing into Anglican Diocese of Newcastle 5 July, 2016 – Released by the Royal Commission
Media Statement Facing the past, shaping a healthy future 17 June 2015
For all media enquiries and interview opportunities please contact:
Louise Mackay Communications Manager (02) 4926 3733