Royal Commission and Safe Ministry Records

Article, News   |   06/09/16

On September 2nd 2016, the Royal Commission into institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released a consultation paper on Records and Recordkeeping practices.
From the website:
“High quality records and recordkeeping practices can be critical in the context of child sexual abuse. Difficulties with access to institutional records has been a recurring theme for survivors of child sexual abuse. The Royal Commission is interested in how recordkeeping practices can promote transparency and accountability in decision-making; help identify persons who may pose a risk to children; and document allegations and incidents of abuse and how they have been responded to.”

Which is a very timely reminder for all of our churches to consider how effectively we are keeping our Safe Ministry Records – understanding that it could directly impact future generations.

To quote from the paper:
Since the Royal Commission began work in 2013, many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in various institutional contexts have told us of the distress, frustration and trauma that poor institutional records and recordkeeping practices have caused them. We have heard examples
where records were either never created, or contained only limited, inaccurate or insensitive content. There have also been instances of records being lost or destroyed, and of where it has
proven difficult to access records that do exist. The impact on victims and survivors in each of these circumstances can be profound, including:

  • eroding victims’ and survivors’ sense of self, their capacity to establish that they had been abused and their confidence in disclosing abuse.
  • preventing identification of risks and incidents of child sexual abuse.
  • delaying or obstructing responses to risks, allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
  • obscuring the extent of institutional knowledge of abuse.
  • hindering disciplinary action, redress efforts, and civil and criminal proceedings.”

You can download the full paper here, and visit the relevant web page

Is your church taking all possible measures to ensure the accuracy, integrity and security of your church Safe Ministry Records?
If you are not sure and would like some assistance checking that, or updating your practices, contact us.