Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Friday, 17 March 2017

Royal Commission Reveals Scale of Child Sexual Abuse in Anglican Church

More than 1,100 complaints made over 35 years about attacks by Anglican clergy and laypeople, new data shows

The royal commission says 1,115 complaints of child sexual abuse were received by the Anglican church between 1980 and 2015. Photograph: Image Source/Getty Images

Christopher Knaus

More than 1,100 complaints of child sexual abuse were made against hundreds of Anglican church clergy and laypeople over 35 years, new data shows.

The child abuse royal commission released another tranche of data about Australia’s churches on Friday, this time revealing the scale of the abuse crisis within the Anglican church’s parishes, schools and youth groups.

The data shows that 1,115 complaints of child sexual abuse were received by the church between 1980 and the end of 2015, involving 22 of the 23 Anglican dioceses in Australia. Those complaints were made by 1,082 survivors against 569 named and 133 unnamed perpetrators.

The alleged abuse took place at the hands of 285 laypeople and 247 ordained clergy. The royal commission has referred 84 alleged perpetrators to police, four of whom have been prosecuted and 23 are still under investigation.

The general secretary of the church’s general synod, Anne Hywood, made a statement to the royal commission on Friday. She acknowledged the church had been more concerned with its own reputation than those who had been harmed, and had failed to act to protect children when it became aware of abuse.

“We have witnessed first hand the suffering of those who have shared their stories,” she said. “We have seen in their faces and heard in their voices not only the pain of the abuse they suffered as a child, but the further damage we inflicted when they came forward as adults, seeking justice and comfort, and we pushed them aside."

Hywood said the church was “prepared to confront” the challenges ahead. She repeated an unreserved apology to survivors.

“We apologise for the shameful way we actively worked against and discouraged those who came to us and reported abuse,” Hywood said. “We are ashamed to acknowledge that we only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us.”

But the royal commission has heard factionalism, in-fighting, and “tribal interests” are still undermining attempts at a unified response to child protection.

The structure of the church decentralises power. Dioceses are able to largely manage their own response to abuse and child protection, and factions within the dioceses complicate matters more.

The Newcastle bishop, Greg Thompson, resigned on Thursday, a day before he was due to give evidence to the royal commission, after trying for years to force reforms within the church. Thompson spoke of receiving threats and being ostracised by his own parishioners for his outspoken push for reform.

He told the royal commission on Friday that the church’s response was still being hampered by factionalism.

“You have relationships … where people are aligned to groups, to factions. So within a diocese, let alone across the country, there are factions and allegiances which cut across a common response, particularly when there are beliefs and attitudes that have not come to terms with history,” he said.

“Conflicts of interest that arise around friendships, where alleged clergy have offended, have been afforded a lot of protection at various levels, either at a committee level or in the local parish. People refuse to accept that their loved priest has been an offender.”

Previous hearings of the royal commission have heard damning evidence about the church’s handling of child sexual abuse. The church actively worked to discourage survivors from complaining and failed comprehensively in its handling of perpetrators.

In the Church of England Boys’ Society, a youth group for boys between six and 16, networks of perpetrators existed across Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Tasmania.

The networks of abusers had knowledge of each other’s activities, the royal commission found.

The counsel assisting, Gail Furness, SC, said the autonomous and unregulated nature of the society’s various branches had contributed to the abuse.

“The royal commission found that these factors, combined with the nature of the activities run by [the Church of England Boys’ Society], such as overnight trips and camps, provided access to boys and opportunities to sexually abuse those boys,” Furness said.

The royal commission had earlier found that the church’s Grafton diocese took a hard line and legalistic approach to survivors of abuse at the North Coast children’s home in Lismore, and failed to follow its own policies for responding to complaints.

It found that as recently as 2000, a headmaster who failed to act on child abuse complaints was promoted to executive director of the Anglican Schools Commission. That occurred despite members of the appointing committee being aware that the headmaster had failed to act.

In total, the Anglican church, known as the Church of England until 1981, has paid $31m in compensation to survivors.

Less than half of all abuse complaints resulted in compensation and survivors received an average of $67,000. The most any survivor received was $113,000. 

Nine per cent of all private sessions held by the royal commission involved survivors of abuse within the Anglican church. 

The Anglican church issued a statement shortly before the royal commission hearing began on Friday. The Anglican primate, Archbishop Philip Freier, said his church had a “pronounced appetite” for change and was eagerly awaiting the royal commission’s recommendations.

Apparently he didn't consult Bishop Greg Thompson before issuing that statement.

“Anglicans have been truly shocked and dismayed at the unfolding in the royal commission of the scope of our failure to tackle child sexual abuse within the church and the depth of survivors’ pain and suffering,” Freier said.

“We are deeply ashamed of the many ways in which we have let down survivors, both in the way we have acted and the way we have failed to act.”

Frieir, later speaking outside the hearing, condemned the treatment of Thompson, and thanked him for his service.

Furness said the church had cooperated with the royal commission’s attempts to obtain the data. The royal commission gathered the information using a complaints survey and engaged data specialists, who then liaised with the 23 dioceses.

The results, which only include survivors who were able to lodge a complaint, are likely to underreport the true scale of child sexual abuse within the church.

They are not directly comparable to shocking figures released about the Catholic church last month, which related to redress claims made against the church, rather than complaints.

Consequently, both datasets are likely to be woefully inadequate.

Friday’s revelations come after years of royal commission investigations into the Anglican church.

The church was first ordered to produce documents in April 2013 and the royal commission has since received roughly 1.5m documents. The royal commission has heard from 169 witnesses and held 500 private sessions associated with the church.

The royal commission has done an absolutely amazing job and may have done more for Australians than both the Catholic and Anglican churches.