Public statement - Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse
Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney
Public Statement January 27, 2016
A statement read to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Hobart by Michelle England, Counsel for the Diocese of Sydney.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND BOYS’ SOCIETY: CASE STUDY 36
Opening Statement from the Diocese of Sydney, Anglican Church of Australia
I appear for the Diocese of Sydney.
The Archbishop of Sydney, who is here today, has asked me to make a brief opening statement on behalf of the Diocese.
The Archbishop acknowledges, at the start of this hearing, that there were children who suffered sexual abuse by those involved in the Church of England Boys’ Society in Sydney.
He acknowledges the devastating, deep and lasting effects of abuse on these survivors, and on their families and friends. The Archbishop is deeply sorry that this terrible abuse of trust occurred. It should never have happened. He apologises to those survivors for this betrayal of trust. He also apologises to those who have witnessed in their loved ones the enduring pain caused by child sexual abuse, and yet whose loyalty and support over the years has not waned, as they continue to love and care for them.
It is also with deep sadness that the Archbishop acknowledges the premature death of some who were abused in the past, and the significant effect of sexual abuse on them.
The Diocese of Sydney is committed to listening to the survivors who will give evidence during this hearing. The Archbishop has thoughtfully read each of their statements with care, concern and respect. He acknowledges at the outset of this hearing that to tell their story is not easy and he is grateful for the courage and resilience they have displayed in coming forward, so that what was hidden in the darkness of the past might be brought into the light. He thanks each and every one of them for their fortitude and commitment in giving testimony, despite the pain, as they recount their stories for all to hear.
The Diocese is strongly committed to learning from the past. The Archbishop acknowledges the courage of survivors and others for speaking out – often at great personal cost to themselves, especially when they were not believed. This courage has helped the Diocese to make changes that will help keep children in its care safe in the future.