Nearly every day in mainstream media you’ll find stories about the sexual abuse of children in various institutions and its shocking impact. Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has shone a bright light on this issue.
The sad reality is that there are many survivors of this type of abuse within our Seventh-day Adventist institutions and, as a Church, we need to support and care for these survivors.
AdSAFE is the newly created arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that was set up in response to the Royal Commission. AdSAFE’s focus is on creating safer environments for children and vulnerable adults in our Adventist churches and institutions and caring for survivors of this type of abuse.
As part of caring for survivors, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has established a redress scheme aimed at assisting survivors through financial support, access to counselling and an acknowledgement of the abuse suffered and the harm caused. Although to date only a few survivors have come forward to access the redress scheme, we know there are many more who are suffering in silence. It is hoped that as greater awareness of redress is achieved more survivors will come forward and take advantage of the support available to them.
No two survivors’ circumstances are the same and the Seventh-day Adventist redress scheme aims to accommodate the personal circumstances of each survivor and to acknowledge the hurt and loss suffered.
The redress scheme is intended to be survivor-focused and as informal as circumstances will allow. By approaching redress in this way it is hoped that survivors will feel supported as they try to rebuild their lives.