Child sex abuse report details diocese complaints

Report outlines diocese shame

THE Anglican Church has admitted it tried to silence child sex abuse victims and cared more about its reputation than those who had been harmed.

Church records show 1082 people have made complaints about 569 alleged perpetrators in the Anglican Church in Australia, which includes 18 complaints in the Bathurst Diocese.

The church has paid nearly $31 million in compensation to victims, data released by the child sex abuse royal commission on Friday showed.

Since December 2015, the Bathurst Diocese has paid more than $750,000 in redress to abused people, Bishop Ian Palmer said in his report in the October 2016 edition of Anglican e-news.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse Analysis of Complaints of Child Sexual Abuse Received by Anglican Church Dioceses in Australia report breaks down the complaint figures in each diocese.

The complaints survey was produced with the “full co-operation and assistance” of representatives of the General Synod of the Anglican Church (the national body or parliament of the Anglican Church), according to the report’s introductory notes.

It showed that of the 18 complaints in the Bathurst Diocese, 22 per cent involved alleged physical abuse.

It also showed 75 per cent of the complainants in the Bathurst Diocese were male and 25 per cent were female.

Half the complainants in the Bathurst Diocese were under the age of 13, the report said, and the decade with the highest number of complaints in the Bathurst Diocese was the 1950s.

The church has not always protected the children it was trusted to care for, General Synod general secretary Anne Hywood said last week.

She said it was clear there were times when the church did not act as it should and allowed harm to continue.

“We did not believe those who came forward and we tried to silence them,” Ms Hywood told a royal commission hearing in Sydney.

“We cared more about the church’s reputation than those who had been harmed.”

Ms Hywood said the church was appalled by the stark presentation of the number of abusers and those they harmed in the data released on Friday.

She repeated a 2004 apology from the church for the way it actively worked against and discouraged those who came forward and reported abuse.

“We are ashamed to acknowledge that we only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us.”