The Presbyterian Church of Victoria (PCV) is pleased to announce that the Church has been declared by the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, as a participating institution in the National Redress Scheme. The Church anticipates that its participation in the Scheme will assist it to provide a compassionate and appropriate response to victims of child sexual abuse within the Church.
The PCV is deeply distressed and saddened by the suffering of victims of child sexual abuse both in the wider Christian community and in our own Church. The Church acknowledges that failure by the Church and its institutions to keep children safe has led to unnecessary suffering, pain and loss by survivors, their families and their communities.
The PCV has joined the National Redress Scheme to ensure that survivors of child sexual abuse have clear options in coming forward and seeking redress. It is the hope of the Church that its participation in the Scheme will assist survivors of sexual abuse within the Church and its institutions in their journey towards healing and recovery.
The National Redress Scheme is an initiative of the federal government that provides acknowledgement and support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. It was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Scheme offers abused people a way of redress as an alternative to the bringing of claims for compensation through the courts. It is administered by the government Department of Human Services and all applications for redress are assessed by the Department.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria has opted into the Scheme in order to demonstrate the Christian commitment of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria to remedying the past and seeking to provide a compassionate and appropriate response today, to the victims of abuse within our Church. The elements of redress provided for under the Scheme align with our Christian values of acknowledging and taking responsibility for past wrongdoing and the harm suffered by victims.
National Redress Scheme PCV Enquiries
The Presbyterian Church of Victoria National Redress Scheme and Direct Personal Response Contact Person is Mrs Fiona Bligh. Contact Fiona with any enquiries by phone on 0499 090 449 during business hours or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PCV Affiliated Schools and the National Redress Scheme
Two of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria affiliated schools, St Andrew’s Christian College and Belgrave Heights Christian School, have joined the NRS via the participation of the the Presbyterian Church of Victoria in the Scheme. Claims relating to these two schools will be referred to the Presbyterian Church of Victoria for response in co-operation with the schools.
The National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse – Direct Personal Response
A Direct Personal Response is one of the three elements of redress available under the National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
A Direct Personal Response is any one or more of the following:
- an opportunity for a survivor to meet with a senior official of the institution and have his or her story of abuse heard;
- an acknowledgement of the impact of the abuse on the person;
- an apology or a statement of acknowledgement or regret; and
- an assurance that the institution has taken steps, or will take steps, to prevent abuse occurring again.
The National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Direct Personal Response Framework 2018 provides for the arrangements under which an institution participating in the Scheme is to engage in a direct personal response to a survivor under the Scheme.
If a survivor indicates an interest in a Direct Personal Response by ticking the box on the acceptance of offer form, the government department will provide them with the contact details for Fiona Bligh. The survivor is able to make contact with Fiona at a time of their choosing. Fiona is not provided with individual contact details as it is the survivor’s choice when to make contact and choose what kind of Direct Personal Response they would like.
A Direct Personal Response may be given by:
- a facilitated face-to-face meeting, in which the survivor (and support person/s), meets with a senior official of the responsible institution;
- written engagement with the survivor where this is preferred by the survivor;
- any other method agreed with the survivor.
The Presbyterian Church of Victoria is committed to providing a Direct Personal Response to any survivor who has experienced institutional child sexual abuse within the Church and who requests such a response under the Scheme.
In all of its engagements with survivors including in relation to the direct personal response process, the Presbyterian Church of Victoria is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of survivors.
The Church also invites survivors to give feedback on the Direct Personal Response process. Such feedback may be anonymous. Institutions are required to make reasonable efforts to consider, and be responsive to, feedback given.
The Church also has in place a process for managing complaints relating to Direct Personal Responses.
Direct Personal Responses are arranged via the Church National Redress Scheme Contact Person, Mrs Fiona Bligh. Fiona works directly with each survivor throughout the process and she can be contacted by phone on 0499 090 449 during business hours. Alternatively, email email@example.com.
Feedback – Direct Personal Response Process
Confidential feedback about survivors’ experiences of the National Redress Scheme Direct Personal Response process as provided by the Presbyterian Church of Victoria is important. By giving feedback survivors will help the church better care for survivors in this process.
Feedback can be submitted though the form below. Please note that you may provide feedback anonymously. If you wish to do so please leave the name and contact details fields blank.
Please write below your feedback about your experience of the National Redress Scheme Direct Response Process as provided to you by Presbyterian Church of Victoria (PCV).
Complaints – Direct Personal Response Process
Complaints about survivors’ experiences of the National Redress Scheme Direct Personal Response process as provided by the Presbyterian Church of Victoria can be submitted though the form below.
Please write below your complaint or concern about your experience of the National Redress Scheme Direct Response Process as provided to you by Presbyterian Church of Victoria (PCV).