Most publicity surrounding the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has focused on the larger churches in Australia, but the LCA ‘is not immune’ from this scourge.
That’s the view of LCA Professional Standards Director Liz Crawford, who attended the Safe Church Network of the National Council of Churches biennial conference in Sydney last year, along with LCA professional standards officers from around Australia.
Royal Commissioner Justice Peter McLellan gave the more than 200 representatives of churches from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands a shocking insight into the extent of abuse that has been alleged to have occurred.
‘The statistics he provided of the thousands of people who have identified to the Royal Commission the terrible harm they suffered as children in the care of religious institutions were simply appalling’, Liz said. ‘The Lutheran Church is not immune from these dreadful events; there were 32 people who identified that they had been harmed while in the care of, or engaging with, the Lutheran Church.
‘We must continue to be an irritant to the church until the culture changes to one in which the prevention of harm to our most vulnerable is routine.’
As with previous network gatherings, the seventh conference carried the challenging title Safe as Churches?
UK guest speaker Elizabeth Hall, former Safeguarding Officer for the Methodist church and the Church of England, relayed stories of survivors of abuse and suggested ways the church could best support abuse survivors, including the need for consultation.
Read Justice McLellan’s speech here.
The LCA Professional Standards Unit has been renamed the Professional Standards Department in line with the trial restructure of LCA national functions.
Wendy Hoopert has been appointed the new Queensland Professional Standards Officer (PSO) two days per week and is personal assistant to Professional Standards Director Liz Crawford three days each week. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07 3512 7237.
The new PSO in the Victoria/Tasmania District is Wayne Lentsment, who will be available Wednesdays and Thursdays at email@example.com or on 03 9236 1200.
Marilyn Wall is the new training coordinator and will be available Fridays at LCA National Office on 08 8267 7300 and Thursdays and Fridays at firstname.lastname@example.org