The Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has made an address at the Uniting Church in Australia’s 14th Assembly meeting in Perth on 15 July.

Justice McClellan conveyed the long term and devastating impact of child sexual abuse on some survivors and their families reporting that, “The Royal Commission received so far 13,256 allegations within our terms of reference. Approximately half of those allegations relate to faith based institutions. We have received 399 allegations in respect of abuse by members of Uniting Church institutions. This figure represents approximately 3% of the total number of allegations. ….The Uniting Church institution with the highest number of allegations is Knox Grammar School with 137 allegations. That school was the subject of a public hearing of the Royal Commission in February this year.”

The importance of a redress scheme for survivors was addressed. It is expected that recommendations for a redress scheme will be made by the Royal Commission to government in August.

“There are three avenues through which justice can be provided. The first two are the civil and criminal justice systems. However, legal proceedings often present insurmountable challenges, both financial and emotional, to survivors. There can be no doubt that for many people their only opportunity for justice will be through an effective redress scheme,” he said.

The speech is available in full here.

Rev. Dr Andrew Williams, General Secretary of The Uniting Church in Australia Synod of NSW and the ACT is attending the 14th Assembly and following the address said, “We look forward to reviewing the recommendations from the Royal Commission. The Church and Knox Grammar School are committed to actively contributing to the healing and justice process of the survivors and their families and we are working with them on alternative approaches for redress.”