National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney
Public Statement

National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney welcomes the decision of the Federal Government to issue a National Apology to the survivors of child sexual abuse. While this apology comes in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it is an important step for the healing of survivors, though nothing will ever rid them of the memories of past abuses.

As Archbishop, I recognise and respect the wishes of the survivors to have no leaders of institutions present in Parliament House when the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison, delivers the National Apology, nor in the livestreaming of this important event in the Opera House, hosted by the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian.

In respecting survivors’ wishes, I take the opportunity again to offer an apology on behalf of the Anglican Church in Sydney, where such abuses have happened in the past. That our Church was complicit in any way in these events, by ignoring them, disbelieving the testimony of survivors, or allowing sex offenders to continue their horrendous conduct in what should have been the safe environs of a church, is itself a matter of deep shame. While I and my immediate two predecessors have issued apologies in the past, let me reiterate my apology to the survivors of child sexual abuse, for our failure to protect them as children. While we have adopted rigorous processes to ensure the safety of children in the present, I recognise that this will not overcome the trauma that accompanies the sins of the past.
 
My fervent prayer is that today’s National Apology will in some measure provide healing for these wounds, raise the national consciousness of the seriousness of child sexual abuse, and enable us as a nation, and individually as citizens, to play our part in protecting and giving voice to the most vulnerable among us, for the benefit of future generations of Australians.

Archbishop Glenn Davies 
22 October 2018
 

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