The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia has formally decided to opt in to the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
The scheme was set up in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as a way of acknowledging and supporting survivors.
"It is our hope that through the National Redress Scheme and our own internal redress scheme we can meaningfully help survivors as they seek healing."
Since late 2016 the Adventist Church has been operating its own redress scheme through Adsafe—a separate entity of the Adventist Church that is responsible for creating safer environments for children and vulnerable adults in the Church. This scheme, which has been guided by the recommendations of the royal commission, offers support and an apology to survivors, along with funding for counselling and ex gratia payments as a tangible acknowledgement of the harm suffered.
Adsafe general manager Ann Wooldridge confirms that Adsafe has been working closely with the National Redress Taskforce, and survivors will have the choice of accessing redress through the National Redress Scheme or the Church’s internal redress scheme.
“It is intended that in the third quarter of 2019 the Adventist Church’s conferences and entities within Australia will have formally opted into the National Redress Scheme in Australia,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“It is our hope that through the National Redress Scheme and our own internal redress scheme we can meaningfully help survivors as they seek healing.”
Adsafe team members work every day with abuse survivors and their families, acknowledging the pain and suffering they experience.
“We have heard many stories that demonstrate that the detrimental effects of child sexual abuse can be long term and far reaching on survivors, their families and their community,” Ms Wooldridge said.