Compassion and Care

The Uniting Church is committed to conducting itself in a way that upholds the values of care and compassion, and to supporting survivors of abuse.

We will apologise to anyone who was sexually abused whilst in our care and actively seeks ways to make amends for what happened in the past and identify how best to offer support in the future.

We are committed to actively contributing to the healing and justice process for survivors.

The UnitingRedress team was established in 2015 by the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and the ACT to work with survivors. Each member of the team is highly experienced in their particular field.

Each case will be considered by the redress team made up of caring and experienced people, who work for the Uniting Church in Australia. The redress team may respond in a number of ways, including the offer of counselling, assistance unique to your circumstances and/or other redress options.

In September 2015, the Royal Commission made its final recommendations regarding redress and civil litigation. The Royal Commission recommended a national government-administered redress scheme or, as an alternative, a state government-administered redress schemes. The Uniting Church supports these recommendations.

It could take some time for the federal and/or state government to decide if they will accept the Royal Commission’s recommendation. It could also take some time before any government redress scheme is operational. In light of this and the fact that there are survivors that require immediate assistance, the Royal Commission has recommended that institutions address the need with interim arrangements.

The Uniting Church in Australia Synod of NSW and the ACT provides an interim UnitingRedress scheme to anyone who experienced sexual abuse as a child in Uniting Church children’s homes, schools and similar facilities. 

The interim policy was approved at Synod 2016, following an extensive Church consultation process.

There are three components of the scheme:
• Counselling and support — where eligible, UnitingRedress will pay for counselling as required;
• Direct personal response — this may include a written and/or verbal apology, when requested by the survivor;
• Financial redress — in eligible cases, financial redress will be offered by way of an ex-gratia payment. This is a payment made in recognition of the seriousness of the hurt and injury suffered as a result of abuse.

These forms of assistance are consistent with the recommendations made by the Royal Commission. We offer survivors an alternative to civil litigation. Acknowledging that the legal process can be adversarial, expensive, time consuming and impersonal for survivors. Our goal is to provide a pastoral response consistent with the ethos of the Uniting Church.

Each member of the UnitingRedress team is highly experienced in their particular field.

Rebecca Haynes
Legal Counsel (Part-time. Tues-Fri)

Rebecca has a particular interest in social justice. She is currently undertaking post graduate studies in jurisprudence. Rebecca’s work has included work for the Indigenous Women’s Program, Women’s Legal Services NSW, Legal Aid, and a professional body representing doctors.

Cristina Santolin
Case Manager (Part Time)

Cristina is a trauma informed Counsellor and Psychotherapist who works with the Uniting Church to facilitate a redress process for survivors of child sexual abuse in Synod institutions. Cristina’s role is to support survivors who wish to go through the church’s interim scheme.

Cristina’s experience in case management has varied across different community organisations over the past ten years. She has worked with young people in South Sydney in harm minimization programs, with survivors of rape and domestic violence, and also with a leading HIV and sexual health organisation with the LGBTQI community.

Cristina understands that some survivors do not wish to have direct contact with anyone employed by the church. In this case, she can assist survivors to find an independent support person so they do not have to deal with the church directly.

To make a claim or find out more about the interim redress policy please contact:

  • Phone: 1800 713 993 (Monday-Friday 8.30am-5pm)
  • Email: unitingredress@nswact.uca.org.au
  • Mail: Marked "Confidential" UnitingRedress
    The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and the ACT
    PO Box A2178, Sydney South 1235

All inquiries and applications are confidential and treated in a timely and sensitive way.

Disclaimer

All complaints and inquiries are confidential and are treated in a timely and sensitive way. Once we receive your complaint or inquiry, we will respond in writing within 7 working days confirming that we have received your complaint or inquiry and we may ask you provide us with some further information. We will inform you of the name and contact details of our staff who will be assisting in the response to your complaint or inquiry. Your privacy is important to us and we will only disclose your personal and sensitive information to the extent necessary to actively address your concerns. All information will be handled strictly in accordance with our privacy policy and privacy statement, which can be accessed from here.