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Australia’s Anglican Primate says church “deeply appreciates” work of Royal Commission looking into child sexual abuse

Australia’s Anglican Primate, Dr Philip Freier, has said the Anglican Church “deeply appreciates” the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as the Royal Commission hands down its final report.

In a statement, Dr Freier, the Archbishop of Melbourne, said that while the Anglican Church of Australia had “worked assiduously” and made “great strides” since 2004 to make the church a safe place for all, especially children, “we admit that sometimes we have been slow to grasp the extent or severity of abuse, and that without the work of the Royal Commission we would not have been able to achieve this”.

“There has been a change in the wider culture of the Anglican Church about child abuse as all elements of the church have had to face our failures – a change that, again, was largely due to the Royal Commission and the church’s response,” he added.

This has included the introduction, at the church’s three yearly general synod held in September, binding national standards on child protection for all clergy and church workers and the establishment of mechanism through which the church can join a future Commonwealth redress scheme.

Dr Freier also “once again” apologised on behalf of the church “to survivors, their families, and others harmed by our failures and by the shameful way we sometimes actively worked against and discouraged those who came to us and reported abuse”.

“The work of making the church a safe place is never finished and cannot be taken for granted,” he said. “We will engage with the final report released today to improve our systems, protocols and procedures.”

The final report of the Royal Commission is being handed down today. Commencing in 2013, the Royal Commission held more than 400 hearing days and heard from some 1,200 witnesses. More than 8,000 private sessions were also held.



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