Redress and SA Baptist Churches
The vision of the Baptist Churches of South Australia is to be a movement of local churches thriving in Jesus, transforming the world. Part of our mission and commitment to build healthy churches is to ensure our churches are safe places. Baptist Churches of South Australia Inc. (BCSA) is committed to responding as sensitively and pastorally as possible, and as quickly as possible, to any notification to it of abuse which involves, or potentially involves, BCSA, its member churches or any agency of BCSA.
Throughout the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it became apparent that many people spoke up and report to the institutional abuser, but were sadly dismissed, ignored or mistreated.
In 2015, the Royal Commission issued a ‘Redress and Civil Litigation’ report which included recommendations for the establishment of a National Redress Scheme. The aim of the National Redress Scheme is to provide justice for victims:
“A process for redress must provide equal access and equal treatment for survivors –regardless of the location, operator, type, continued existence or assets of the institution in which they were abused – if it is to be regarded by survivors as being capable of delivering justice.”
The Federal government has been empowered by the State governments to administer a National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) to allow people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse to seek redress. The scheme began on 1 July 2018, and will operate for 10 years.
As we have reflected on the concept of the National Scheme, the model, our Baptist context and our societal context, the Australian Baptist Ministries National Council, at its meeting of 16 May 2018 agreed that Australian Baptists should opt in to the scheme. It resolved:
“That the model for the National Redress Scheme be that each state, territory and affiliated agency opt in individually. The National Council urges each state, territory and affiliated agency to undertake all steps necessary through their own governance processes to opt in the National Redress Scheme.”
In the light of this the Assembly Board of Baptist Churches of SA (BCSA), at its meeting of Monday 4 June 2018 resolved the motion:
“That Baptist Churches of SA, in consultation with our Member Churches and Assembly, work intentionally and expediently toward opting in to the National Redress Scheme. In making this decision the Assembly Board recognises and affirms the role of the local church, state Association and national movement in partnering together to make this a reality.”
At the Annual Assembly of Baptist Churches SA held on Saturday 17 November 2018, the following motion was passed unanimously:
“That Baptist Churches of South Australia Inc., together with Member churches, church plants, missional communities and defunct churches:
a) agrees to participate in the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
b) in a participating group with the Member churches, church plants, missional communities and defunct churches, as will be determined by the Baptist Churches of South Australia’s Assembly Board;
c) with Baptist Churches of South Australia Inc. as the representative for the group; and
d) declares that each member is wiling to and capable of discharging any obligation to provide a direct personal response to a person who accents an offer of redress (otherwise these obligations will be discharge by the representative identified above).”
As of February 2019, Baptist Churches of South Australia are working through the on-boarding process to join the National Redress Scheme, including finalising the list of those included in the participating group and attending operational training. As per the publicly available list on the National Redress Scheme website, it is intended that this process (which can take up to six months) will be finalised by the second quarter of 2019.
Refer to further information here:
For more information about the National Redress Scheme, visit www.nationalredress.gov.au or call the National Redress Scheme line on 1800 737 377.