Royal Commission to give detail of allegations against UCA institutions

The Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Justice Peter McClellan AM, will today tell members of the Uniting Church that allegations of abuse against their institutions account for about three per cent of the total allegations received so far by the Royal Commission.

In a speech to be delivered later this morning Justice McClellan will tell members of the Church’s 14th Assembly in Perth that the Royal Commission has received 399 allegations of abuse by members of Uniting Church institutions.

Of the 399 allegations 173 relate to institutions involved in out of home care, while 164 relate to boarding schools including 137 allegations against Knox Grammar School – the Uniting Church institution with the highest number of allegations.

Knox and the Uniting Church were the subject of the Royal Commission’s Case Study 23, which took place in Sydney from 23 February to 6 March 2015, and a supplementary hearing on 28 April 2015.

The public hearing covered concerns raised about inappropriate conduct by a number of teachers towards students between 1970 and 2012.

In addition there have been 106 allegations of abuse by members of Presbyterian Church institutions and 62 allegations of abuse by members of Methodist Church institutions, the majority of which relate to incidents occurring prior to 1977.

In his speech Justice McClellan says that the Royal Commission has so far received 13,256 allegations within its terms of reference, and has completed 3,766 private sessions with survivors.

Another 1,527 people are still waiting to be heard, and applications by survivors for private sessions are continuing to come into the Royal Commission at a rate of almost 50 per week.

The Chair of Commissioners will also tell Church members that legal proceedings often present insurmountable challenges, both financial and emotional, to survivors, and that the only opportunity for justice for many will be through an effective redress scheme.

Justice McClellan will address the 14th Assembly in Perth at 1pm AEST.

A copy of his speech will be posted on the 14th Assembly website later this morning.