Inquiry into handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations
Visit the Parliament of Victoria website to read the Inquiry's Terms of Reference.
Submission from the diocese
The submission from the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into handling of child abuse by religious and other non-government organisations is available for public viewing (see link below).
The Terms of Reference of the Inquiry are broad and in providing a submission to the Committee, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne has sought to provide a comprehensive response which includes an overview of the development of Professional Standards with this Diocese and where appropriate within the Province of Victoria and where it is relevant the National Church. This section provides an overview of the submission.
As was stated publically at the time of the announcement of the Inquiry, the Church welcomes the Inquiry and its intent (as defined by the Terms of Reference). The Church takes its responsibilities in the community very seriously and regards the issues that are the subject of the inquiry as being of great importance.
It is our belief that as a general principle, a religious organisation should have in place a complaints resolution process that is transparent, independent and commands respect and integrity.
The over-riding purpose of such a process, in our view, should be to protect the community, particularly the vulnerable, with a process that deals with complaints fairly, inexpensively and as efficiently as possible.
In addition to having such a process, it is also important to have in place a recognised system, including codes of conduct, to regulate the fitness of those in ministry. In the Church’s view both are required to ensure an effective Professional Standards regime.
Even with a robust system in place, it is important to recognise that some misconduct is of such gravity as to require notification without delay to the Police and / or other authority. The Church has in place a protocol which guides the Church’s Director of Professional Standards and its Professional Standards Committee in such matters.