An apology to survivors of child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church

The Anglican Church of Australia acknowledges with deep regret and repentance the past failings of the Church and its members.

On behalf of the whole Anglican Church in this country we apologise unreservedly to those who have been harmed by sexual abuse perpetrated by people holding positions of power and trust in the Church.

We apologise for the shameful way we actively worked against and discouraged those who came to us and reported abuse.

We are ashamed to acknowledge that we only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us.

We apologise and ask forgiveness for the Church’s failure at many levels to listen to and acknowledge the plight of those who have been abused, to take adequate steps to assist them, and to prevent abuse from happening or recurring.

We commit the Church to listen to survivors of abuse to respond with compassion to all those who have been harmed, both to those who have come forward and to those who may choose to do so in the future, and to deal appropriately, transparently and fairly with those accused of abuse and negligence.

An apology to the forgotten Australians

Anglican Church of Australia sincerely apologises to the children whose experiences in institutional and out-of-home care provided by  Anglican Church caused them hurt, distress, and harm.

The recent Senate Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care Report has reflected the stories of many care leavers who demonstrated great courage in describing their experiences in institutional care. A number of these people had been placed in institutions conducted by Anglican Church and its agencies.

With deep sadness and regret, this Church acknowledges that many of these children suffered abuse and neglect, and a lack of appropriate care and nurture while in institutional care; and a significant number also suffered physical and sexual assault.

The Church deeply regrets that its institutions and personnel did not always provide environments in which these children were protected and nurtured.

Anglican Church is committed to ensuring that all children in any of its institutions and all those who come into contact with the Church will be protected. Actions are being taken in this General Synod and in Anglican Church Southern Queensland to put into place new strategies reflecting this commitment.

The Inquiry Report Forgotten Australians has brought into community awareness the serious and long-term effects of such abuse and assault; and Anglican Church is committed to providing appropriate services, assistance and support to those persons who suffered harm. 

An apology to survivors of historic forced adoption practices and policies

The Senate inquiry into the ‘Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices’ gathered many accounts of mothers, babies (now adults) and other family members who courageously described their experiences of forced adoption.

Some of these involved Anglican homes and agencies.

The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane sincerely apologises to the mothers, fathers and babies (now adults) who have experienced hurt, distress and harm as a result of past forced adoption practices in homes which operated in the name of the Church. We are aware that these practices occurred at St Mary’s Home at Toowong and the Church of England Women’s Refuge in Spring Hill.

The inquiry heard that mothers’ consent to have their babies taken for adoption was often coerced and, in some cases, was not obtained at all.

Often fathers were excluded completely from this process. It heard that mothers were denied access to information about their babies, including birth records and information about their child’s survival or well-being.

Those adopted babies have often not had access to accurate records of their birth and parentage.

With deep sadness and regret, the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane acknowledges that mothers suffered emotional trauma and abuse in these adoption processes.

We apologise that they were subjected to shame, isolation and humiliation while in the care of homes operated by the Anglican Church. The Church acknowledges that the resulting grief and loss for both parents and children is ongoing and significant.

We deeply regret that they were not always provided the care, information, protection and support which these mothers, fathers and children should have received. We apologise for those failings.

We now constantly review our practices to extend the best possible care and protection to all whom we serve. We continue to assist those who suffered harm while in our care in the past. We encourage and support families to thrive and flourish together.

The Church is committed to providing appropriate assistance, counselling and support to those who have suffered as a result of its involvement in past forced adoptions.

Dated: 31 August 2012

Those affected by forced adoptions are encouraged to contact the Office of the General Manager, Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, on 3835 2222 or via email