Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church of Australia has supported the work of the Royal Commission since its establishment in 2013.

The Royal Commission has conducted public hearings into ten case studies involving Anglican Church authorities. 

At the final public hearing for the Anglican Church of Australia  the following statements were issued:

Primate’s Statement – 17 March 2017 
General Secretary’s Statement – 17 March 2017 

In March 2017 the Royal Commission published the findings of the Anglican Data Project detailing the extent of complaints of child sexual abuse received by Anglican Church dioceses. 

On 15 December 2017 the Royal Commission presented its final report to the Governor General.  Archbishop Phillip Freier issued a statement of acknowledgement of the work of the Royal Commission.

Work undertaken by the Royal Commission Working Group (RCWG)

The RCWG has met on a number of occasions each year since its establishment in November 2013.   It has undertaken a range of tasks in response to the outputs of the Royal Commission. 

One of the RCWG’s first undertakings was to encourage the 23 dioceses of the ACA to conduct a review of all child sex abuse complaints, documentation, policies, protocols and practices operating in each diocese.

Royal Commission Case Studies – Public Hearings:

The RCWG has monitored the Royal Commission hearings into Anglican entities and in some instances has sought leave to appear.  The objective of the RCWG in monitoring the public hearings and reports associated with the case studies is to identify emerging issues and recommendations which should be taken into account in the development of policies and procedures in the Anglican church of Australia.

-          Case Study 3 – Grafton Anglican Diocese

-          Case Study 20 – Hutchins School Tasmania

-          Case Study 25 – Redress and civil litigation

-          Case Study 32 – Geelong Grammar School, Victoria

-          Case Study 34 – Brisbane Grammar Schools and St Paul’s School, Queensland

-          Case Study 36 – Church of England Boys Society

-          Case Study 42 – Anglican Diocese of Newcastle

-          Case Study 45 – Problematic Behaviour in Schools – Trinity Grammar, Sydney and The Kings School, Parramatta

-          Case Study 46 – Criminal Justice issues and Consultation Paper

-          Case Study 52 – Anglican Church Authorities in Australia

Royal Commission Issues Papers:

The RCWG has reviewed the issues papers circulated by the Royal Commission and identified issues of relevance to operations within the ACA.

The RCWG has coordinated submissions on behalf of the Anglican Church of Australia in response to the following issues papers:

-          Issues Paper 1 – Working With Children Checks

-          Issues Paper 3 – Child Safe Institutions

-          Issues Paper 4 – Out of Home Care

-          Issues Paper 5 - Civil Litigation

-          Issues Paper 6 – Redress Schemes

-          Issues Paper 8 - Experience of Police and Prosecution Responses

-          Issues Paper 10 – Advocacy Support Therapeutic Treatment Services

Royal Commission Consultation Papers:

The RCWG has coordinated submissions on behalf of the Anglican Church of Australia in response to the following consultations papers:

-          Redress and Civil Litigation - March 2015

-          Complaint handling and response - April 2016

-          Records and Record Keeping - September 2016

-          Criminal Justice - October 2016

Royal Commission Round Tables

The RCWG has coordinated participation in private round tables conducted by the Royal Commission:

-          Redress – September 2014

-          Child Safe – April 2016

Royal Commission Research Studies:

The RCWG reviews all research released by the Royal Commission to identify issues relevant to the operations of the ACA.  The most recent reviews have included:

-          Service and support needs of specific population groups

-          Risk profiles for institutional child sexual abuse

-          Our Safety Counts Research reveals new insights into children’s view of safety

-          Evidence and Frameworks for understanding perpetrators

-          Principles of trauma informed approaches to child sexual abuse

Ecumenical Engagement:

The RCWG has engaged with other churches and faith based organisations in addressing the issues arising from the work of the Royal Commission.  Regular meeting have been held to facilitate the sharing of information.  More specifically in 2015 and 2016, the Chair of the RCWG and the General Secretary has participated in meetings with representatives of the main churches to facilitate a consistent response to the recommendations in the Royal Commission’s Report on Redress and Civil Litigation.