Wahroonga, New South Wales
AdSAFE, a new service for protecting children and vulnerable adults in the Adventist Church, has been established by the South Pacific Division and will open in early 2017.
When it comes to faith-based institutions, the Adventist Church aims to be the leader in developing robust and transparent practices that protect our church members, particularly children and vulnerable adults.
Based at Wahroonga and jointly funded by the South Pacific Division and its four unions, it will employ highly qualified skills-based professionals, including psychologists, social workers and educators.
The service has been created in response to independent reviews of the Church’s practices, research reports and case study findings from Australia’s ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and changing government legislation. The five-year Royal Commission has been scrutinising the practices institutions have employed when receiving and responding to complaints of sexual abuse against their employees and volunteers.
Project manager Dean Banks said AdSAFE will replace the current Australian Union Conference Safe Place Services. An independent board will set the strategic direction and oversee operations of the service, ensuring levels of independence that guard against any conflicts of interest for persons when responding to claims. It will have the authority to advise and manage all processes around sexual and physical abuse of children and vulnerable adults within the Adventist Church in Australia and New Zealand, extending to other South Pacific countries in due course.
“A new model of operation will ensure more consistent practices across the Church and all its entities,” Mr Banks said. “When it comes to faith-based institutions, the Adventist Church aims to be the leader in developing robust and transparent practices that protect our church members, particularly children and vulnerable adults.
“We have been following very closely the summary findings and reports from the Royal Commission, which have provided the foundation for AdSAFE’S organisational structure, scope and functions as well as other initiatives the Church has taken.”
AdSAFE is currently recruiting a number of initial staff, including a general manager.