Cardinal Pell’s conviction highlights our own efforts to support victims

Posted in News

The verdict that announced Cardinal George Pell as guilty of child sexual abuse sent shockwaves around the world yesterday. ‘The church’ in general have been cast in the spotlight once again, with society at large left with a negative view of the church as an institution where people, especially children, should be feeling safe.

“The news of the conviction of Cardinal Pell for Child Sex offences serves as a sombre reminder of the sad history of sexual abuse of vulnerable children entrusted to the care of churches and other institutions. It reinforces the importance of upholding the stories of people who endured abuse in a church institution,” says Uniting Church SA Moderator, Rev Sue Ellis.

She continues: “As people of the Uniting Church, we are committed to seeking to make amends to survivors and to ensure others never suffer in this way again. The Church is called to be a safe place for all people and we are constantly scrutinising our policies and practices around children to ensure they comply with the Royal Commission’s ‘Key Elements of Child Safe Organisations’.”

In response to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Uniting Church launched their Safe Church initiative that offers procedures, training, screening and reporting avenues to help prevent abuses from happening within our churches. In June 2018 we also committed to join the National Redress Scheme, a Government support programme that assists people who have experienced institutionalised sexual abuse and holds institutions accountable for it.

This week the National Redress Scheme published a list of institutions identified by the Royal Commission who have joined the scheme. The Uniting Church does not appear on this list, but we are mentioned on their website along with other institutions whose applications are still being processed. The Uniting Church in Australia has provided the Federal Government with our application and supporting documents in December 2018.  We have been informed that we will soon be operational as a fully listed institution and ready to begin processing any claims originating from within the Uniting Church.

“We pray for all survivors of child sexual abuse and for their families and the families of those who can no longer share their pain. We pray for a safe society where the rights of children and vulnerable people will be recognised and championed. In Jesus’ ministry, the importance of such people in the Kingdom of Heaven was made abundantly clear to his disciples and followers. May it be so in the life and witness of our church today,” says Sue.

“Our thoughts and prayers are also with the Catholic Church at this time as Pope Francis leads the people into a new era of accountability in their discipleship to Christ.”


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Comments (3)

  1. Janice Merritt 01 march 2019, 11:29 Link
    Child abuse is dreadful, but we continue to run around trying to please everyone. When are the churches going to get back to preaching about sin, when will they speak out about impure living as God sees it? I rarely see or hear anything about sexual impurity, adultery, lust, etc. Where are the campaigns against simulated sex in entertainment? Foul language and lewd sexual references in comedy.? These are the things at the root of acceptance of all sorts of sexual abuse. Pornography is readily available and that inflames passions. When does the Church speak out strongly and loudly against these things?

    I guess it is not considered loving and compassionate to offend those addicted to these things..
    And one day we will have to answer to a Holy God for our failure.