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National task group will guide Uniting Church response to Royal Commission

The national task group appointed to frame the Uniting Church response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held its second meeting in Sydney on 24 January 2013.

The task group has advanced work on a Statement of Uniting Church Values to guide the Church’s response to a variety of frameworks.

The Statement of Values draws on the Basis of Union and the 1977 Statement to the Nation to declare the Church’s readiness to uphold Christian principles through full and honest cooperation with the Royal Commission. The statement will be submitted to the Assembly Standing Committee for approval in mid-March as part of the National Response Framework.

The task group also noted for consideration the Royal Commission’s terms of reference which were announced on 11 January 2013 and a statement by the Chair of the Commission, the Hon Justice Peter McClellan on 16 January.

The National Response Task Group was set up by the Assembly Standing Committee at its meeting of 18 November 2012, with the Assembly General Secretary Rev Terence Corkin as convenor. The group includes representatives of Uniting Church agencies and schools, and church members with experience in counselling survivors of sexual abuse and in the Church’s internal procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.

The purpose of the task group is to strengthen the capacity of the Church across its councils, agencies and schools to engage openly and positively with the Royal Commission and its issues. It will do this by enhancing national cooperation, sharing resources and providing guidance to the Church on how to prepare for and participate in the Royal Commission.

Uniting Church statements on the Royal Commission are available on the Assembly website at http://assembly.uca.org.au/royalcommission.