Abuse ‘shame’ will remain with Church
THE Anglican Diocese of Grafton has accepted a Royal Commission's damning conclusions about its failure to properly respond to decades of child sexual abuse at the North Coast Children's Home.
A spokesman said the disgraces of the past would stay with the Church but that all efforts would be made to put things right.
"Whatever shortcomings and failures there may have been dealing with these issues in the past, our Diocese has made major changes in attitude, protocol and response," he said.
"The Diocese is totally committed to facing its responsibilities and responding appropriately to any reports of abuse experienced by persons for whom we have a duty of care.
"The weight and the shame of past failures will remain with us for a long time and regrettably we cannot undo what has been done."
The Royal Commission found the Diocese had disregarded its own policies in its handling of abuse claims and failed to take action against pedophile priests.
Bishop of Grafton Sarah Macneil said the Church had already started "implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission and taking great care to determine what other improvements are needed".
"We are committed to offering support to victims of abuse as they rebuild their lives and all claims which come forward are now handled according to Diocesan policies," she said.
"We are also committed to learning from the past and will continue to strengthen processes and safeguards for the protection of the vulnerable in our care."
A spokesperson for the Diocese said it agreed with the Commission that the way in which complaints by former residents had been handled during the period 2005 to 2013 had been inadequate and inappropriate.
He said the Diocese had:
Acknowledged the shortcomings and failures in its actions;
Apologised publicly and personally to former residents and their families;
Reviewed and greatly improved its protocols covering complaints of any form of abuse (which is acknowledged in the Commission's report);
Revisited by way of personal contact and discussion every complaint made by former residents of the home;
Further compensated claimants where appropriate;
Called for any former residents with unlodged complaints to contact the Diocese, and;
Undertaken to abide by the findings and recommendations of the Commission.