STATEMENT BY ACC NATIONAL PRESIDENT, WAYNE ALCORN, ON THE ROYAL COMMISSION INTO INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSES TO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE CONDUCTED 7th – 17th October 2014:
I wish to state on behalf of the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) that the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been an opportunity for us as a movement to re-examine and review our previous and current policies and procedures when it comes to dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse.
We have had numerous policies and procedures in place over the years at State and National level that undergo regular updating and review, yet it is evident that these policies alone are not enough to prevent the hideous crime of child sexual abuse from occurring.
The ACC would welcome any recommendations as a result of the cases studied by this Royal Commission, as we recognise that in spite of detailed policies and procedures, children have been sexually abused by perpetrators within the local church.
The testimonies of the child victims that we have heard are heart breaking and shocking, and this should never have happened to any of them. One case of child sexual abuse is one too many, and we are committed to do everything in our power to prevent such acts taking place.
We wish to acknowledge the pain and suffering of each child who has come forward to tell of their traumatic experiences, how they were preyed on by predatory adults who betrayed their position of trust and took advantage of them sexually.
To the victims and their families, I want to express my deepest sorrow and grief at your painful experiences, and how your faith and trust in the Church has been broken. I acknowledge that it has taken courage to speak out about the shameful sexual actions against you, and I believe that by doing so, you are bravely paving the way for other children never to suffer a similar fate. We will continue to pray that you will ultimately find peace and healing from the devastating events of the past.
ACC has a zero tolerance approach to child abuse and I emerge from this Royal Commission hearing with an even stronger commitment to strengthen and reinforce this rigorous approach at every level of our movement, that every local church and ordained minister is aware and equipped to ensure every measure is taken when dealing with and to prevent child sexual abuse.
– Wayne Alcorn, National President
17 October 2014