Australian Anglican church admits it failed to act over child sex abuse victims

Sydney, March 17, 2017 (TNE): The Anglican Church in Australia on Friday admitted that it tried to silence child sex abuse victims, a Royal Commission inquiry has revealed.

According to their records, some 1,082 child sex abuse complaints were made between 1980 and 2015 against 569 alleged perpetrators, including 247 ordained clergy, in the Anglican Church in Australia.

“The church did not always protect the children it was entrusted to care for and allowed harm to continue,” Anne Hywood, the Church’s general secretary said.

“We did not believe those who came forward and we tried to silence them.

“We cared more about the church’s reputation than those who had been harmed,” the commission was told during a hearing in Sydney.

The average age of the victims at the time of abuse was 11.

The church paid nearly 31 million Australian dollars (23 million dollars) in compensation to the victims.

Hywood said the number of abusers and those harmed were appalling.

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

Philip Freier, Australia’s most senior Anglican leader and Melbourne Archbishop, said the data was shocking.

“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,” he said.

The commission’s senior counsel Gail Furness said the data did not indicate the total number of incidents of child sexual abuse in Anglican Church institutions in Australia.

Furness added that the victims did not report the abuse since many survivors faced challenges to report it to authorities. (TNE)

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