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Royal Commission

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Click the image above to read a guide for how congregations of the Uniting Church should respond to receiving a disclosure.

Supporting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse


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PRAYER TO MARK THE NATIONAL APOLOGY TO SURVIVORS OF INSTITUTIONAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE 

We pause this day to acknowledge the failure of the church to protect so many children in its care, to say how sorry we are, to pray for those who have been abused and those who support them.

Hold a time of silence

Gracious and loving God,
We confess that our congregations, agencies and schools have not always been safe places for children and that abuse occurred where care and nurture should have been expected.

Silence

We are sorry.

We confess that we failed to listen to the voices of children when they told us of their abuse. 

Silence

We are sorry.

We confess our failure. Christ Jesus, Reform our life.

We pray for survivors of child abuse,
we pray for justice, for strength and healing. God hear our prayer.

We pray for family and friends of child abuse survivors, and all who provide care and support. We pray for wisdom, courage and resilience.
God hear our prayer.

We pray for those whose family member or friend has died as a result of their abuse. We pray for comfort, kindness and peace.
God hear our prayer.

We acknowledge with gratitude those who have supported survivors of child abuse to find healing and strength.
We give thanks.

We acknowledge with gratitude the work of the Royal Commission who enabled survivors to speak of their suffering, showed us our sin and called us to mend our ways.
We give thanks.

We acknowledge with gratitude, advocates who exposed the truth about institutional child abuse and who campaigned for truth-telling and justice.
We give thanks.

We acknowledge our need to change as a Church. Strengthen us to act with justice towards survivors, to listen to our children and to implement policies which create safer communities. Reform us God.

We commit ourselves as your Church to being places of safety, free of abuse and exploitation. We commit ourselves as your Church to be communities, where people can flourish in life-giving ways of trust and love.
Reform us God.

Through Christ we pray, Amen.


Royal Commission Prayers

The prayers that follow may be used individually as part of the regular Sunday Prayers
of the People or collectively on particular occasions. 
When collated into one prayer, it is suggested that each petition be followed by: 
Lord, hear us Lord, hear our prayer.

A prayer for those who experienced abuse

Gracious and healing God,
We thank you for the many ways that you touch our lives - giving us hope
in the midst of despair; comfort and strength to live, when we are at our most vulnerable.
Be with all those today who are suffering - living with brokenness and pain.
We particularly think of people who were sexually abused as children.
May your Spirit be a comforting and healing presence in their lives.
May they find peace and nurture within relationships and communities of safety
and trust.
Open our eyes and give us wisdom to see where we can bring your healing and
hope in our relationships, neighbourhoods and communities as your hopeful and
compassionate people.
Give us courage, insight, power and passion that we might work with you for
justice and liberation of all those who are abused and oppressed.

A prayer for the Royal Commission

God of wisdom, we pray for those who will serve as Commissioners, that they will
deal graciously and fairly with all who appear before them. Grant to them the
insight and discernment they will need to properly fulfil their responsibilities and
ensure the best possible outcomes from the work they do. We ask that the
conclusions they reach and the recommendations they make will help those who
have been victims of sexual abuse in the past to feel that justice has been done
and hope restored.

A prayer for those who will appear before the Royal Commission
Gracious God, we pray for all those who will appear before the Commission,
whether to give evidence or to be questioned regarding policies and practices.
Give them humility and help them to speak openly and honestly about the issues
they must address. We pray for a commitment from everyone involved to work
together to create safe and nurturing communities of care for the children who
need them.

A prayer for the perpetrators of abuse

God of grace and forgiveness, we pray for those who have been responsible for
the sexual abuse of children. By your Spirit, convict them of the wrong they have
done and the pain and grief they have inflicted on their victims. Bring them to
such a place of sorrow and regret for what they have done that they will repent of
their sins, admit their guilt, and seek to live a new life in the strength of your
Spirit.

A prayer for the church

Holy God, through Jesus your Son, in the power of the Spirit, you brought your
church into being. Imbue it in these challenging days with a willingness to
courageously and honestly face the mistakes of the past. Help us all to confront
and confess our failures that we may continue with integrity to speak out for truth
and justice in our nation and boldly declare the
salvation promised to all who repent and believe in the good news revealed in
Jesus your Son. 


The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (January 2013 - December 2017)​

The Uniting Church in Australia fully supports the work of this Royal Commission. The UCA has set up a National Response Task Group and Task Groups in each Synod. These Task Groups are working to assist the Commission and to utilise the learning from the Commission’s work to enhance our capacity to provide safe environments for children across the church.

The Commission is inquiring into how the wide range of organisations in our society with a responsibility for children, including governments, have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

It is investigating where systems have failed to protect children, and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.


Reporting abuse

If you are experiencing child abuse or have experienced child abuse in the past you can report this. Click here​.

Reporting to the Royal Commission

​​The Church encourages anyone who has experienced childhood sexual abuse in an institutional setting, such as a church, school or 'care' facility, to come forward and tell their story to the Royal Commission. To find out how, visit the official Royal Commission website here​

Further information is available at Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Abuse Callers within Australia – 1800 099 340. (Toll free number. Calls from a mobile or pay telephone will attract additional charges.) For general information go to:

www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/

Reporting to the Uniting Church​

If you would like to contact the Uniting Church regarding the Royal Commission and the institutional response to child sexual abuse, a trained person will respond to your message.  
Email:  UCARoyalCommissionResponse@victas.uca.org.au 

The Uniting Church undertakes to ensure all matters are handled sensitively and with appropriate confidentiality and care. ​

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A Theological Basis for Responding to Child Abuse

Some children in the care of this church were subjected to a variety of forms of abuse. We know this through the experiences shared with us by those who have come forward in recent years and also through the experiences documented in the Senate inquiries into the treatment of Aboriginal children, children placed in children's homes and other forms of care and the child migrants who came to Australia from the United Kingdom.

The extent and cruelty of the abuse across our society can only be described as shocking.

Through our predecessors, the Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist Churches, a number of children's homes were in operation throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. A small amount of out of home care is still provided by UnitingCare agencies in this Synod. We also continue to provide children's and youth programs across the church.

The Uniting Church has strong theological foundations to its commitment to address the injustice of child abuse. Redress of wrongs is captured in the Basis of Union, which states that "The Uniting Church prays that through the gift of the Spirit, God will constantly correct that which is erroneous in life" (Basis of Union, Para 18).

The Uniting Church Values Statement issued by the Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse affirms that we

will not hide from the truth, however painful it may be, and we will seek, with compassion and humility, to address whatever issues and challenges may emerge for us. We will say "sorry" to anyone who was neglected and abused when in our care and, in consultation with those so affected, actively seek for ways to make amends for what happened in the past and identify how we can best offer support into the future.

Counselling and Support Services 

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Key Resources

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