Uniting Church joins the National Redress Scheme
1 Apr 2019
Uniting Church in Australia, Assembly Media Release:
The Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP has today notified the Uniting Church in Australia that the Church has met the requirements to commence participation in the National Redress Scheme for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. The Scheme operated by the Commonwealth Government allows survivors to apply for counselling, a Redress payment of up to $150,000 and a direct personal response from the institution involved. Information on who can apply is set out on the National Redress Scheme website.
President Dr Deidre Palmer has welcomed the notification, which opens the way for survivors of abuse in Uniting Church institutions to seek redress through the Scheme.
“First and most importantly I want to acknowledge those who have been waiting for this decision, which follows months of work and cooperation with Uniting Church bodies across the country, the Department of Social Services and other State and Federal government agencies” said Dr Palmer. “I would also like repeat once more the sincere apology I and past Uniting Church Presidents have made to people who were abused in our care as children. I am truly sorry that we didn’t protect and care for you in accordance with our Christian values.”
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence of child sexual abuse within a number of current and former Uniting Church institutions. One of the key recommendations that the Royal Commission made was to establish a national redress scheme for those who have experienced institutional child sex abuse.
“Our Church has long supported a truly national scheme managed independently from the Church,” said Dr Palmer. “In our view this is the fairest way to ensure survivors are consistently and
equitably treated and supported.”
The Uniting Church has established UCA Redress Ltd to coordinate its response to applications to the Scheme brought by people who experienced child sexual abuse in the Church and its institutions.
National Director of UCA Redress Ltd Sarah Lim says the first step for potential applicants is to contact the Scheme itself.
“People who have experienced abuse can apply directly to the National Redress Scheme via their website www.nationalredress.gov.au or via the Scheme’s toll-free contact number 1800 737 377,” said Ms Lim. “As of March 2019, all six Uniting Church in Australia Synods, their Congregations and Presbyteries, and most current and historic community service agencies and schools have indicated they will participate in the Scheme.
“In total, more than 6500 individual sites and institutions will participate in the Scheme with UCA Redress Ltd acting as their group representative,” said Ms Lim.
More information is available on the UCA Redress website.
31 March 2019
National Safe Church Unit Director Appointed
Rev. John Cox has been appointed as the inaugural Director of the Uniting Church in Australia’s National Safe Church Unit.
For the last three years, Rev. Cox has served the the Executive Officer of the National Royal Commission Response and Engagement Task Group, the group that guided the Uniting Church’s national response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
In making the announcement, Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer welcomed the experience Rev. Cox brings to the new role.
“The Uniting Church has made serious commitments to implement the learnings of the Royal Commission to make our Church the safest place it can be for children and adults in our care. I’m delighted that we will continue to be able to draw on John’s experience in the field of child safety, as we look to make our congregations, agencies and schools a safe place for all people.”
“The National Safe Church Unit will work across the whole of our Church to resource the changes required to deliver on these commitments,” said Ms Geyer.
Rev. Cox will take up the new role from 15 April 2019.
31 March 2019
If you need support, 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
If you are a Uniting Church member and would like information about safe church training, please contact go to this page on the Uniting Church Uniting People webpage.
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