PCAS Booklet-2017Safe Ministry Map – Chapter 3

REPORTING ABUSE

 

3.4 Responding to abuse

 

Confidentiality
Any suspicion, knowledge or disclosure of abuse must be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Apart from reporting it to the relevant authorities, the information must not ordinarily be shared with anyone else.

Investigations by Police or Family and Community Services
In some cases, a report will lead to an investigation by the Police or Family and Community Services and the matter will be taken out of the hands of the parish. In other cases, there may be no action taken by the civil authorities (for example, because the complainant does not want to go through a criminal trial) and the parish will need to determine its response to the matter. In both cases, the Professional Standards Unit should always be consulted on how to proceed.

Pastoral care
A victim of abuse may require immediate specialist counselling or other support. When a report is made to the Professional Standards Unit, the Professional Standards Unit Chaplain can provide advice on care for victims and their families. Victims often need ongoing contact and support and the senior minister should ensure that an appropriate person is appointed to follow up with them. Other members of the parish may also need specialist support. Trained Parish Recovery Teams are available to assist through the Professional Standards Unit.

If a leader informs the senior minister that a child has disclosed abuse to them, the senior minister should make sure that the above steps are taken. He should also ensure that the leader is appropriately cared for and supported. The leader may need to debrief about how the experience has affected them.

Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme
A person who has experienced sexual abuse from a leader in the parish context in the Sydney Diocese may be able to access assistance through the Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme.

The Diocese is committed to responding appropriately to allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct by any church worker. Persons making allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct are entitled to a compassionate and timely response. The Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme is designed to enable those who have suffered abuse in the church context to receive appropriate pastoral care and financial assistance.

Further information is provided in the Pastoral Care Assistance Scheme Booklet also available in print from the Professional Standards Unit. Alternatively, the person may contact the Anglican Abuse Report Line.