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NEW ZEALAND: Anglican bishop wants abuse redress left to individual churches

NEW ZEALAND: Anglican bishop wants abuse redress left to individual churches

By Andrew McRae
March 21, 2021

A leader in the Anglican Church says he would prefer it to run its own new redress process for victims of abuse rather than have a national independent system imposed on it.

Survivors of abuse are demanding an independent redress agency for both state and faith-based abuse be set up immediately and have made a number of calls for this to be recommended to the government by the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care.

The Anglican Church told the inquiry it is open to the idea, but Christchurch bishop Peter Carrell said it could be too unwieldy due to the number of churches in this country.

He wants redress left to individual churches, but suggests someone independent could have the final say, if required.

''I wonder if it would be helpful to have a government-appointed Ombudsman, or similar title, to be if you like an appeal person or office so if someone engaging with the life of the church, does end up not having a satisfactory experience they feel they can go somewhere that is beyond the control of the church.''

He said he is concerned about an independent body covering so many potential cases.

''I would remind the Commissioners that the churches in New Zealand is not only the Salvation Army, Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, there are, not only other mainstream denominations so called, like the Presbyterians and Methodists, there are literally thousands of churches, not all of which are well structured across our land like the three you are looking at currently (Anglican, Catholic and Salvation Army).

''A concern I have is an independent body could mean a person complains and then there's quite a delay in process.

''I believe what we have set up for the Anglican Church in Aotearoa-New Zealand is a process that will be efficient in responding to complaints and timely in dealing with them,'' he said.

''My central reservation is that it might actually prove to be an unwieldy body because potentially there are a lot of churches in New Zealand.''

Carrell said if the Royal Commission's recommendation was for a national redress scheme to focus on all outstanding complaints from the last 70 years or complaints that have not been well addressed or the redress was unsatisfactory, then there needs to be an independently overseen process to set things to right.

''I'm distinguishing that from as we go forward we might, and I speak as an Anglican only, we might give our new process a chance to see whether that's working well as we go forward into the future.''

The Anglican Church will finish its evidence on redress to the Royal Commission on Monday. It will be followed by the Catholic Church.


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