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Anglicans ask for abuse inquiry scope to be broadened

Monday, March 26, 2018. For immediate release

Anglicans ask for abuse inquiry scope to be broadened

The Anglican Church is making a concerted drive to get the Royal Commission into abuse expanded to include the church and its agencies.

The church's top General Synod committee has today sent a formal letter to the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and the Children's Minister, Tracey Martin, urging the government to broaden the terms of reference into historical abuse in state institutions to include church-related bodies as well.

The letter is signed by Archbishops Philip Richardson and Winston Halapua on behalf of the General Synod Standing Committee, which met in Napier on March 15 and 16.

It says that the GSSC's "primary concern is for the needs of those whose lives have been impacted by abuse, and we are conscious that abuse has been perpetrated by agencies across our society, including the Church and its agencies.

Greater confidence

"We are concerned that it will be unhelpful to victims and survivors, if the inquiry and its process is limited only to the state sector, denying some the right to have their voices heard. "We believe that victims, survivors and the public at large would have greater confidence in the processes and outcomes of the Royal Commission’s Inquiry if it was fully inclusive."

The GSSC letter also points out that any inquiry the church might conduct itself wouldn't be adequate.

"…if we were to hold a parallel inquiry into our Church organisations," it says, "we believe it would have a lesser standing and therefore lesser restorative benefit.

The letter also says that the members of GSSC are "mindful that this process will require us to be proactive in the ways we engage with the Commission and with those who have suffered abuse while in church care.

"Our Christian faith teaches us the power of truth, justice and reconciliation. We see this Commission of Inquiry as one way we can put that faith into action, and we encourage you to give this request serious consideration, in the hope that this will provide a pathway to healing and wholeness for all concerned."

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