MEDIA RELEASE

Report into Knox Grammar School and the Uniting Church released

Tuesday 13 September 2016

The Rev. Dr Andrew Williams, General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and the ACT has provided the following statement in response to the Royal Commission’s final report into the responses of the Uniting Church in Australia and Knox Grammar School to incidents of child sexual abuse as tabled in Parliament today.

The Uniting Church Synod of NSW and the ACT is deeply sorry for the pain and suffering caused by the sexual abuse at Knox Grammar School.

In 2009 Knox Grammar School and the Uniting Church provided a public apology and offered personal apologies.

We commend the survivors for their courage in coming forward and we continue to hold them in our prayers.

Hearing the devastating impact of the sexual abuse has been humbling and moving.

Sexual abuse of children is intolerable and unacceptable.  The Uniting Church is committed to actively contributing to the healing and justice for the survivors of child sexual abuse.

The Uniting Church accepts that there were failures in the care of some boys at Knox Grammar School in the period 1970 and 2003 and this is unacceptable and caused considerable suffering.

The Church is however confident that the School has made significant inroads to accepting and addressing these failures particularly since the commencement of the new headmaster in 2004.

The support shown to the survivors is commendable and consistent with the Christian values and ethos of the Church.

In response to the Royal Commission’s final Redress and Civil Litigation Report in 2015, and its recommendation for institutions to offer redress to survivors, the Uniting Church offers interim redress to meet the immediate needs for survivors of child sexual abuse in its institutions, until a Government redress scheme is operational. 

The Uniting Church has been privileged to have the Hon Justice Peter McClellan and Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald address the Uniting Church Assembly and the Synod Standing Committee, on the work of the Commission with particular reference to redress and legal structures.

We are reviewing the report and recommendations of the Royal Commission, and are committed to reflecting our Christian principles by taking whatever learnings come from it.

We will continue to act to ensure our Church and its agencies are the safest possible place for those children in our care.       

For further information please contact:
Lisa Sampson, Media Relations M: 0414 947 000 E: lisas@nswact.uca.org.au