All the churches listed on the Federal Government’s “yet to join” list for the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse have now submitted the documentation needed to join the scheme. The list reflects organisations named at the Royal Commission.
For example, the Presbyterian Church of NSW and ACT announced it “has completed the formal ‘Intention To Join the National Redress Scheme’ statement and submitted it to the National Redress Scheme along with all of the documentation which is required to join the Scheme.”
Some churches which were not on any list … have submitted their application as well.
They will join the Presbyterians in Tasmania and WA on that list. Another sizeable denomination listed as intending to join is the Churches of Christ in NSW/ACT, SA and NT, and WA, as well as the Seventh Day Adventist church.
The deadline for these organisations to complete the process of joining the scheme is December 31, 2020. Applications for redress can be made any time before 30 June, 2027. At present redress is capped at $150,000.
Some churches which were not on any list – such as the Presbyterians’ smaller sister church, the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia – have submitted their application as well. Their Presbyterian Banner magazine notes “the PCEA does not have to join as we have no knowledge of any claims against us but the Law and Advisory Committee took the view that, as our Insurers offered at a very modest cost a scheme of insurance for any claims that may arise, we should join. The thought was that this was the ethical thing to do if perchance someone had suffered abuse in the past warranting compensation and/or apology.”
* There are no other churches or specifically Christian organisations listed “as yet to join”. However the Redress website notes “there are likely to be other institutions, which are not named, where abuse occurred. The Government also expects these institutions to be accountable for this abuse and join the Scheme as soon as possible.” There is the problem of defunct institutions, as well as working out if there are successor bodies which should be liable.
A number of independent local churches have joined the Redress Scheme. This does not amount to any awareness that abuse has occurred. Rather, as the Eastern Presbyterians observe, it is simply an ethical thing to do, providing a route for any person who may have suffered abuse to seek compensation.