Document Sample



         MARCH 2003
                                    TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE                 BY THE PRIMATE ..............................................................   (i)

RESOLUTIONS OF STANDING COMMITTEE 29-30 MARCH 2003 .................. (ii)

SECTION 1               BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION ................................... 1

                        FOR CHURCH WORKERS................................................... 10

SECTION 3               HANDLING INFORMATIN AND COMPLAINTS ...................... 11

SECTION 4               A NEW APPROACH TO DISCIPLINE ..................................... 21

SECTION 5               ADMINISTRATIVE AND OTHER MATTERS .......................... 24

SECTION 6               IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROPOSALS ............................. 26



SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

This report is offered to the Australian Church as a first co-ordinated step at a
national level towards the proper handling by the Church of information concerning
sexual abuse and sexual misconduct of clergy and church workers.

It should be seen for what it is – a work in progress report. It is not complete in the
sense of providing the final blueprint for the handling of such matters. It may appear
to have some rough edges.

It does establish some firm principles which require further development and
refinement by others better equipped to take the matter further.

The Standing Committee of the General Synod has given general approval to the
directions now to be taken. Those relevant resolutions are appended to the report.

Dioceses should begin now to take steps to implement the recommendations by:

       Entering discussions for the appropriate sharing of professional and other
        resources, and in particular for the composition and appointment of the
        Profession Standards Committees and Board or Boards
       Once a Professional Standards Committee is in place, the appointment as
        soon as possible of a Director of Professional Standards.
       The passing by the diocesan synod, if possible in 2003, of the model
        ordinance to be developed by the Church Law Commission
       The adoption and implementation of the national Protocol to be developed by
        the Protocol Working Group
       After publication of the National Code of Conduct by the Child Protection
        Committee, the consideration of any supplementary diocesan code of

It may be that some of the principles will need further working out in the light of
experience, such as the best method of ensuring, where appropriate, that a victim
receives adequate financial or other assistance in situations not only where there
may be a clear legal liability on a church organization but where there is not, or
where such liability may be uncertain.

The report is commended for further development and implementation of its
principles throughout the Australian Church, in accordance with the attached
resolutions of the Standing Committee passed on 29-30 March 2003.

Peter F Carnley, AO
Primate of The Anglican Church of Australia
and Archbishop of Perth


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003


          1. That the Standing Committee gives general approval to the scheme to
             deal with harassment, assault and sexually inappropriate behaviour as
             outlined in the report and urges every diocese in the Australian Church
             and the General Synod to take all steps necessary to implement it.

          2. That the Standing Committee undertakes to do all in its power to facilitate
             a program of education about and prevention of harassment, assault and
             sexually inappropriate behaviour in the Church.

          3. That the Standing Committee requests the General Synod‟s Child
             Protection Committee to continue with the preparation of a national Code
             of Conduct for consideration by the Standing Committee, if possible at its
             next meeting, and to continue the development of other strategies for the
             education about and prevention of harassment, assault and sexually
             inappropriate behaviour in the Church.

          4. That the Standing Committee endorses the further preparation of a
             National Protocol to deal with information about or complaints of
             harassment, assault and sexually inappropriate behaviour involving
             Church workers.

          5. That the National Protocol to be developed should generally reflect the
             principles and structures described in Section 3 of the report.

          6. That further preparation of the national Protocol be referred to a Working
             Group comprising:

                            Mr Philip Gerber                   (Diocese of Sydney)
                            Bishop Richard Appleby             (Diocese of Brisbane)
                            Dr Jane Hendtlass                  (Diocese of Melbourne)

               with Ms Susan Gribben as a Consultant, and that in preparing the
               Protocol the Working Group consult with the Church Law Commission,
               the Child Protection Committee and any persons nominated from their
               respective dioceses by the Archbishop of Adelaide, the Archbishop of
               Perth and the Bishop of Tasmania.

          7. That the Working Group include in the Protocol principles to be observed
             in making financial provision for victims, and that in developing such
             principles the Working Group consult with representatives of those
             dioceses which are already considering such proposals.

          8. That the Working Group be authorised to spend the allocation of up to
             $10,000.00 provided by resolution of the Standing Committee in March
             2002 and for the purposes mentioned in that resolution (see paragraph
             1.7 of the report).

SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          9. That the Standing Committee requests the Working Group to draw upon
             the principles and structures outlined in Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the report
             for implementation of the National Protocol, for investigating the conduct
             of Church workers where fitness to hold office is called in question, for
             determining such questions and for implementing the recommendations
             of Professional Standards Boards.

          10. That the Standing Committee requests the Church Law Commission:
                  (a) to proceed as soon as possible with the preparation of
                        appropriate model legislation to be available for enactment by
                        diocesan synods, if possible in 2003, to give effect to the
                        principles identified in the report, particularly those referred to
                        in paragraphs 6.5, 6.10 and 6.11;
                  (b) to prepare appropriate legislation for presentation to General
                        Synod in 2004 on the topics referred to in paragraphs 6.13.1 to
                        6.13.4 inclusive;
                  (c) in the preparation of such legislation to consult with the
                        Working Group referred to in resolution 6.

          11. That the Standing Committee urges all dioceses to pass as soon as
              possible any model legislation recommended by the Church Law
              Commission designed to give effect to the proposals in the report.

          12. That the Standing Committee urges all dioceses to cooperate in the
              sharing, where appropriate, of the resources necessary to implement
              these proposals, and requests the Metropolitans and the General
              Secretary to facilitate negotiations for the formation of appropriate groups
              of dioceses for this purpose, and to ensure that every diocese has
              access to the necessary resources.

          13. That the Standing Committee urges all dioceses to review their
              administrative procedures to take account of the matters referred to in
              Section 5 of the report.

          14. That the Standing Committee facilitates the formation and recognition of
              a Network of Directors of Professional Standards with a view to the
                  (a) performing the functions referred to in the report;
                  (b) developing and promoting observance of the highest possible
                       professional standards by Church workers;
                  (c) developing and promoting best practice and standards
                       throughout the Church in the implementation of the national
                       Protocol and the proposed legislation;
                  (d) promoting within the Church and the community an
                       understanding of the national Code of Conduct and the national


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          15. That Standing Committee asks the Doctrine Commission and the Liturgy
              Commission to examine theological and liturgical issues underlying
              sexual abuse and harrassment in the church and to advise the church


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                           SEXUAL ABUSE WORKING GROUP

                           REPORT TO STANDING COMMITTEE


1.1       In recent years, all Anglican dioceses have been made to face the
          uncomfortable reality that   sexual abuse by their Church workers, both
          clergy and lay, has occurred in the past and continues to occur, and that the
          Church‟s traditional response has too frequently been one of denial or
          minimisation of the offensive behaviour and its consequences, of
          secretiveness and of pastoral insensitivity to the needs of all involved.

1.2       The Church‟s failure to face this issue and to deal with it appropriately has
          resulted in a great deal of harm to many people – both victims and
          respondents, their families, parishes and communities – as well as damaging
          the Church as a whole.

1.3       Dioceses have been handling a wide range of complaints under a wide
          variety of protocols for some years. From informal inquiries in some
          dioceses it would appear that:

          1.3.1      The existing protocols have not been used by all victims. Many have
                     not told anyone about the abuse, and some only after many years;

          1.3.2      Victims sometimes have not proceeded with their formal or informal

          1.3.3      Some victims have kept coming back with complaints that their
                     original complaint was either not dealt with at all or not dealt with

          1.3.4      Existing protocols sometimes have not been used by the Church.
                     Bishops, clergy, church organizations and others have dealt with
                     sexual abuse issues in their own way without reference to the
                     diocesan protocol;

          1.3.5      Church officials have acted on a perceived requirement on their part
                     to act in accordance with insurance covenants;

          1.3.6      There has been a defensive and legalistic attitude to the protection
                     of Church assets;

          1.3.7      There has been secrecy about the handling of issues creating a
                     perception of “cover up”.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

1.4       Barriers which appear to exist to people using the Church‟s protocols

          1.4.1      A misplaced belief by some Church officials that they have the ability
                     to deal with these issues satisfactorily in their own way.

          1.4.2      Lack of awareness in the Church about what sexual and other abuse
                     is and its impact;

          1.4.3      Lack of awareness that there is a Church protocol for handling

          1.4.4      Lack of accessibility of the protocol, due to linguistic, social,
                     geographic and cultural barriers to understanding and accessing the

          1.4.5      Lack of trust in the protocol due to past experience of the Church‟s
                     handling of sexual abuse or other issues and the belief that the
                     protocol or the Church will not or cannot address the person‟s needs.

1.5       There appears now to be a clear recognition, both in the Church and in the
          wider community, that the Church, in its existing systems for dealing with
          complaints about Church workers, has not been, but should be:

          1.5.1      Dealing empathically, professionally, respectfully, fairly and in a
                     timely way, with the needs of complainants and respondents, their
                     families and congregations;

          1.5.2      Open, transparent and accountable, while respecting the rights of
                     complainants to privacy;

          1.5.3      Easily accessible;

          1.5.4      Consistent from diocese to diocese;

          1.5.5      Dealing with all allegations of misconduct by Church workers as

          1.5.6      Reporting to the police all allegations of misconduct involving
                     possibly illegal behaviour;

          1.5.7      Reporting to child protection authorities all matters involving risks to

          1.5.8      Adequately resourced, including paid administrative support;

          1.5.9      Ensuring that all reasonable steps are taken to protect the public
                     from abuse;


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          1.5.10 Ensuring that Bishops do not exercise conflicting roles, such as
                 pastoral care of one or more involved, determining compensation,
                 handling litigation and disciplining clergy.

1.6       In recognising some of these problems, on 15 March 2002 the Standing
          Committee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia
          published the following statement on behalf of the General Synod:

              “The Anglican Church declares its abhorrence of any sexual abuse of
              children. Such behaviour is clearly contrary to both the gospel and the
              law. The Standing Committee acknowledges the benefits of many
              significant Anglican ministries among children. However, the church
              regrets that there have been instances of abuse involving some Anglican
              clergy, church officers and institutions and apologises to all victims of
              such misconduct for their ongoing hurt and the breakdown in pastoral

              The church is sorry that in some places it has failed in the past adequately
              to respond to claims of abuse. It has now initiated steps to ensure that
              appropriate protocols are in place across Australia and commits itself to
              be open and transparent in dealing with this matter.”

1.7       On the same day the Standing Committee also passed the following

          “Resolved that the Standing Committee:

               1)    Notes that the Bishops Conference will be considering the matter of
                     protocols for dealing with sexual abuse matters and invites the
                     conference to advise the Standing Committee of the results of that

               2)    Resolves to establish a special working group chaired by Justice
                     David Bleby and including Mr Bill Anderssen, Mr Garth Blake, Ms
                     Susan Gribben, Dean Graeme Lawrence, with Mr Philip Gerber as
                     secretary of the group, and such other persons as determined by the
                     Chair and Mr Bill Anderssen in consultation with the General
                     Secretary. The group is encouraged to consult with relevant people,
                     including the Child Protection Committee and to complete their task
                     as soon as is practically possible consistent with obtaining a result at
                     least in line with best practice in this area. The task of this group is
                     to develop benchmarks in relation to:

                        i)       protocols dealing with sexual abuse claims against church
                                 officers or institutions
                        ii)      appropriate screening procedures to operate at all
                                 appropriate levels
                        iii)     discipline guidelines for such cases
                        iv)      such other matters as the group judges to be relevant
                        v)       suggested model legislation for dioceses, and to


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                        vi)      make recommendations on the above matters to dioceses.
                        vii)     Report to the next meeting on the Standing Committee, or
                                 the Executive if it meets sooner.

               3)    That the following further action be taken

                        i)       To ask the Committee on Child Protection and the Church
                                 Law Commission to consider the other matters raised in this
                                 report and to collaborate in their consideration of these
                        ii)      To ask the Church Law Commission and the Child
                                 Protection Committee to invite consultation from the
                                 Anglican Schools Network and Anglicare Australia.
                        iii)     To invite the Anglican Church Schools Network and
                                 Anglicare Australia to contribute to the work of these two
                        iv)      To seek advice from Mr Robert Stanley, the co-ordinator of
                                 the National Insurance Plan, as to the most effective way to
                                 address the insurance questions raised in this report and
                                 any others which might be considered appropriate, and in
                                 consultation with Bishop Andrew Curnow to identify the
                                 most effective way to address these questions more fully.


                        That Standing Committee approve an allocation of up to $10,000
                        to assist the Working Group on Sexual Abuse Protocols in
                        research, writing and consultancy in order to expedite their work.
                        This amount would be beyond any travel expenses for the group to
                        carry out its work.”

1.8       On 1 October 2002 Dean Lawrence resigned from the Working Group. He
          was replaced by Canon Barbara Howard, also of the Diocese of Newcastle.
          Unfortunately, she was unable to continue, and resigned on 3 February
          2003. Regrettably, their short-lived membership and inability to attend some
          meetings has meant that the Working Group has not had the input from
          representatives of members of the clergy that it would have desired.

1.9       The Working Group met on 10 – 11 May, 14 – 15 June, 16 August,
          7 September,1 November, 13 – 14 November 2002 and 31 January –
          1 February and 1 March 2003.

1.10      The terms of reference of the Working Group are very wide. The task facing
          the Working Group was complex and multi-faceted. Some of the procedures
          and systems require non-canonical treatment.              Some require a
          reconsideration of the whole present regime of what we have hitherto called
          “Clergy Discipline”. Some require a great deal of education and information
          both within and outside the Church. The problems extend beyond individual
          dioceses, both in their effects and how they should be addressed.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

1.11      Much time was spent on defining the ambit of the problem with which we
          should be dealing. While the events which precipitated the action of the
          Standing Committee in March 2002 were principally events and the alleged
          failure of process in the Church concerning sexual abuse of children, those
          events were merely indicative of a wider problem of how the Church deals
          with sexual misconduct and harassment generally. This in turn presents a
          two-sided problem. There is first how the Church deals sympathetically and
          appropriately with those who allege that they have been the victims of sexual
          misconduct by clergy and Church workers, and also with those against
          whom the allegation is made. Secondly there is the related but independent
          question of how the Church should approach the determination of disputed
          facts in relation to alleged sexual misconduct and how it should deal
          appropriately with those found to have been involved in sexual misconduct.
          The two sides of this problem are dealt with in more detail later in this report.
          But first, there are problems of definition.

1.12      The first problem of definition is that of the nature of the conduct that the
          Church needs to address when information or complaints about conduct are
          received. We were tempted to suggest that it should encompass any
          conduct or omission which might call in question the ability of the Church
          worker to hold office. That might be acceptable in some dioceses, but not in
          others. It might give rise to investigating situations of parish breakdown well
          beyond the scope of this Working Group‟s terms of reference. In the end,
          and having regard to our terms of reference, we decided that any national
          protocol to be devised should be limited to sexual misconduct and related
          matters. However, bearing in mind the new approach to discipline discussed
          in Section 4 of this report, we consider that it should be referred to in non-
          condemnatory terms. Accordingly, we have described the conduct that
          forms the scope of this report as “examinable conduct” and suggest that it be
          defined in legislation to mean:

          1.12.1 Conduct which would be regarded by right thinking members of the
                 Church in the diocese concerned as involving harassment, assault or
                 sexually inappropriate behaviour

          That goes a little further than purely sexual misconduct. However, to draw
          the line at the latter is to ignore other forms of associated abuse. We also
          recognised that there may be different interpretations in different dioceses as
          to the appropriateness of certain types of behaviour. Hence the adoption of
          a “right thinking members” test applicable to a particular diocese. When we
          refer in this report to examinable conduct it is conduct so defined to which
          we refer. However, it is not a term which we suggest should find its way into
          any protocol.

1.13      It should be recognised that examinable conduct so defined is but a subset
          of much broader set of circumstances which may cause hurt within the
          Church and undermine confidence in its processes and leadership. Conduct
          of Church workers may give rise to a breakdown of parish relationships.
          Various forms of conduct or omission may be symptomatic of other problems


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          such as addiction, lack of financial integrity or physical or mental illness or
          incapacity, which may call in question a person‟s fitness to hold office. While
          this report does not address those issues, some of the processes suggested
          could well be appropriately extended in some dioceses, where inadequate
          machinery presently exists, to deal with those issues in a more sympathetic
          and responsible manner than the Church‟s present Tribunal system would

1.14      Whatever the scope of any legislation and protocol, the protocol must also
          address questions of past failure by a Church authority or Church body as
          defined in paragraph 1.16 below properly to deal with or to investigate
          information concerning examinable conduct.

1.15      The second problem of definition was the description of the personnel to
          whom the suggested procedures should apply. In the Working Group‟s view
          there was no question but that it should apply to all ordained persons, to all
          involved in various forms of ministry, particularly ministry to children, whether
          voluntary or stipendiary, and to employees of the Church, of Church schools
          and of other church organisations. Having described the coverage in such
          wide terms, the Working Group immediately recognises:

          1.15.1 That there are limits to the way in which the national Church or the
                 Church in a diocese can prescribe procedures and remedies for
                 bodies separately incorporated which are not directly responsible to
                 the Synods concerned;

          1.15.2 That in the case of employees, some dioceses may wish to go
                 further than others in their coverage. For example, sexual abuse in
                 schools may already be dealt with adequately in some dioceses,
                 whether by acceptable protocols or State legislation, but may not be
                 in others. Some dioceses may wish to extend protocols to a wide
                 range of employees of Church institutions. Others may consider it
                 inappropriate to do so. Those are matters which every diocese will
                 need to address, according to its own circumstances and according
                 to relevant State legislation;

          1.15.3 There are limits to the manner in which any General Synod or
                 diocesan legislation can interfere with or override existing contracts
                 of employment. Dioceses will need to consider whether any relevant
                 legislation can affect, and if so to what extent, contracts of
                 employment, whether existing contracts should be varied to
                 incorporate the procedures and protocols suggested, and whether
                 future contracts of employment should incorporate a condition to that

1.16      Subject to the considerations mentioned above, which must be addressed by
          each individual diocese, the Working Group‟s term which it uses for the
          purpose of this report is that of a “Church worker” which means:

          1.16.1 Any member of the clergy; or


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          1.16.2 Any lay person who is employed by a Church body, or appointed,
                 authorised or licensed by a Church authority to a voluntary position
                 in which the person works with children or young people, or who is
                 engaged in any other form of pastoral ministry; and includes

          1.16.3 A former Church worker.

          For the purposes of this definition a Church authority means the Bishop or a
          person or body having authority of or in a Church body to license, appoint,
          authorise, dismiss or suspend a Church worker. For this purpose “Church
          body” includes a parish, school, any body corporate, organisation or
          association that exercises pastoral ministry within, or on behalf of, the
          Church or the Church in a province or diocese.

1.17      As mentioned above, it will be for each diocese to consider and decide on
          the extent to which any diocesan legislation should extend in respect of
          employees of diocesan institutions. Subject to that, examinable conduct in
          relation to all other Church workers should be the subject of action
          recommended in this report.

1.18      In relation to the second side of the problem - dealing appropriately with
          those who have engaged in examinable conduct - the Working Group
          recognised that there are severe shortcomings in the present system of
          “discipline” of clergy prescribed by the Constitution, the Offences Canon of
          General Synod and by General Synod and diocesan legislation dealing with
          episcopal and clergy discipline. There is an inadequate system to deal with
          examinable conduct on the part of non-ordained persons which varies from
          diocese to diocese. The primary concern of the Church and of the
          community is not punishment for examinable conduct but whether and to
          what extent the conduct either qualifies the person‟s fitness to hold office or
          excludes the person from holding office for the protection of the public.
          Concepts of blame and of disciplinary punishment inherent in the present
          legislation are by themselves inappropriate to deal with this problem. For
          this second aspect of the problem, the Working Group has decided that
          there must in every case be a proper investigation of and appropriate action
          taken in respect of any examinable conduct which would:

          1.18.1 Render the Church worker, whether temporarily or permanently, unfit
                 to hold a particular or any office or position of responsibility in the
                 Church or to be or remain in Holy Orders or in the employment of a
                 Church body;

          1.18.2 Require that, in the exercise of the person‟s ministry or employment
                 as the case may be, the person be subject to certain conditions or
                 restrictions; or

          1.18.3 So impair the person‟s ministry or employment as the case may be
                 that the person is unable properly to fulfil the duties of office in the
                 Church or of employment by a Church body.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

1.19      Having dealt with the ambit of the problem, the Working Group eventually
          came to realise that there were five principal issues to be addressed,
          including the two sides of the problem mentioned above:

          1.19.1 Prevention of examinable conduct by Church workers through
                 education and the adoption throughout the Church of certain
                 minimum standards of acceptable behaviour and the adoption of
                 appropriate pre-ordination and pre-engagement screening
                 procedures. To the extent necessary this is dealt with in Section 2 of
                 this report;

          1.19.2 Dealing properly and sensitively with complaints and information
                 concerning alleged examinable conduct in a way which satisfies, as
                 far as possible, the needs and hopes of victims while providing
                 proper counselling and support for those accused of the conduct.
                 This forms the subject of Section 3 of the report;

          1.19.3 At the same time, where necessary, dealing properly and in a
                 sensitive way with allegations of examinable conduct which call in
                 question the fitness of a person to hold office or to continue with
                 employment with the Church. This is discussed further in Section 4
                 of the report;

          1.19.4 Various aspects of necessary administration, including liaison with
                 insurance companies, handling of claims for compensation and
                 recording of and access to information concerning Church workers
                 whose conduct requires some qualification on fitness to hold office.
                 This is dealt with in Section 5 of the report;

          1.19.5 The most appropriate method of implementing the proposals in the
                 report uniformly throughout the national Church. This is addressed
                 in Section 6 of the report.

1.20      Much of the Working Group‟s time was spent in developing a possible
          protocol for dealing with complaints of and information about examinable
          conduct on the part of Church workers. The Group also spent time in
          developing a possible Canon of General Synod to provide the structures for
          implementing the protocol and for dealing with questions of fitness to hold
          office. It came to realise, however, that it was not the best qualified to deal
          with such detail, and that the time that would be taken to develop that degree
          of detail by this Working Group would result in unacceptable delay in
          producing a final report and recommendation. In three areas in particular,
          the Working Group has decided that further development of the proposals
          would be more efficiently done by others:

          1.20.1 The development of a national approach to education about and
                 prevention of sexual abuse in the Church, by agreement with the
                 Child Protection Committee established by General Synod, and with
                 the approval of the Standing Committee, has been left to the Child


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                     Protection Committee.     However, through some common
                     membership of the two groups, each has been fully informed of
                     progress by the other. For further details see Section 2 of this

          1.20.2 Several dioceses have already devoted substantial resources to
                 developing protocols to deal with information and complaints of
                 examinable conduct. The Working Group has benefited from that
                 work and has, it is understood, contributed to some of the thinking
                 behind those developments. As will be seen in Section 3 of this
                 report, the Working Group has been able to present what it
                 considers should be embodied in a set of protocols for adoption
                 nationally. In the present circumstances, the detail of embodying
                 those principles will now be more efficiently worked out by some of
                 the representatives of those dioceses who have been involved in the
                 major diocesan reviews;

          1.20.3 As will be seen in Section 6 of this report, there are constitutional
                 and political complexities in the adoption of legislation to give effect
                 nationally to the principles embodied in this report. The Working
                 Group has gone some way in developing legislative proposals, and
                 has had a joint meeting with the Church Law Commission, at which
                 some of those proposals were discussed. Again, pressure of time
                 and the complexities that have been identified suggest that the task
                 of preparing appropriate diocesan and General Synod legislation is
                 best referred to the Church Law Commission.

1.21      The reference of these functions to others should not be seen as an attempt
          by this Working Group to avoid its responsibilities under the terms of
          reference. It has perceived its function as being to present the Church with
          an appropriate framework to deal with a major problem. The Working Group
          does not have the expertise in all areas of detail which need to be
          addressed. Acceptable solutions are urgently needed, and time will be
          saved by having groups with greater expertise to develop the necessary
          detail. Those groups will, of course, need to be properly resourced by
          General Synod if the task is to be completed in a timely fashion. This report
          should be seen as recommending, for implementation throughout the
          Church, a fresh approach to the problems of sexual abuse and misconduct
          within the Church.

1.22      It will be apparent from the proposals recommended in this report that if they
          are implemented, as they must be if the Church is to retain any credibility in
          its handling of sexual misconduct, they will require significant professional
          resources, both paid and voluntary. Because of the nature of our Church
          and its governance, these must necessarily be organised on diocesan lines.
          Legislative action will be required by all dioceses as well as by the General
          Synod. Only a few of the major metropolitan dioceses will be able to provide
          the necessary resources for themselves. The scheme will only work
          effectively if every diocese participates. This means that the necessary
          structures, particularly the proposed Professional Standards Committees,


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          Professional Standards Boards and the appropriate professional expertise
          will have to be shared, and some formula agreed for providing the cost of
          those necessary resources and the composition of the respective bodies. In
          Section 6 we suggest the grouping of dioceses for this purpose, not
          necessarily on provincial lines. It will take some further time to develop the
          protocol and appropriate model diocesan legislation, but diocesan bishops
          and diocesan councils should be alive at the outset to the need to make
          group arrangements to provide these resources, and should begin
          negotiations immediately with their counterparts in other dioceses with which
          they consider they can best share their resources.

SECTION 2 – EDUCATION, STANDARDS                            OF   BEHAVIOUR       AND     SCREENING         FOR

2.1 The Child Protection Committee (Mr Garth Blake S.C. Chair, Mrs Helen Carrig,
      Bishop David Farrer, Mr Philip Gerber and Mrs Marilyn Redlich) ("CPC")
      established by the Primate pursuant to resolution 20/01 of the General
      Synod has been:

          2.1.1      Investigating a curriculum for professional ethics in ministry for
                     Church workers undertaking an undergraduate course in an Anglican
                     Theological College in Australia;

          2.1.2      Investigating best practice training courses in child protection for use
                     by Church workers throughout Australia;

          2.1.3      Drafting a national Code of Conduct for Church workers;

          2.1.4      Drafting a screening questionnaire for particular Church workers and
                     referees for their use throughout the Church.

2.2       The CPC considers that a recognised course of professional ethics in
          ministry to be undertaken as part of an undergraduate qualification obtained
          from an Anglican Theological College is a necessary step to ensure that
          theologically trained Church workers (whether lay or ordained) understand
          the standards required of them in undertaking professional ministry. This
          course would include instruction about the national Code of Conduct.

2.3       The CPC has been considering training courses in child protection that have
          been produced in Australia and overseas. While recognising that there will
          need to be additional training to cover the relevant State or Territory
          legislation, the CPC considers that there would be significant benefits if a
          best practice training course was available throughout Australia.

2.4       The CPC has been drafting a national Code of Conduct for all Church
          workers (ordained and lay, and paid and voluntary). The Code of Conduct
          will specify both standards and guidelines in a number of areas. The areas
          currently being considered are Personal Behaviour, Sexual Conduct,


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          Practice of Pastoral Ministry, Ministry to Children and Young Persons,
          Financial Integrity and Collegiality.

2.5       The CPC has been drafting a standard screening questionnaire for particular
          Church workers (candidates for ordination and others) and their referees
          together with guidelines for their use.

2.6       The CPC is hoping to release an exposure draft of the national Code of
          Conduct and screening questionnaires in July 2003 and is proposing to
          conduct half-day conferences for all interested persons in the capital cities of
          all the States and Territories and in Northern Queensland in August and
          September 2003 to explain and obtain feedback on these documents. The
          CPC will invite written comments on these documents and hopes to be in a
          position to recommend the documents in their final form to the November
          2003 meeting of the GSSC.

2.7       The CPC also hopes to be a position to make recommendations about a
          curriculum on professional ethics in ministry and child protection training
          courses to the November 2003 meeting of the GSSC.

2.8       The CPC is aware that it will be necessary to give consideration to
          appropriate General Synod legislation to give effect to the national Code of
          Conduct. It is hoped that when recommendations are finalised this will be
          able to be undertaken in conjunction with the Church Law Commission with
          a view to the promotion of this legislation at the 2004 General Synod.

3.1       This section is primarily concerned with how the Church deals sensitively
          with information and complaints about “examinable conduct” and about past
          process failures in the Church. At the outset, it must be realised that anyone
          who considers himself or herself to have been a victim of or adversely
          affected by examinable conduct on the part of a Church worker needs
          sensitive and empathic pastoral care. It is the Church‟s responsibility to give
          it, regardless of where the truth lies in what may be a disputed fact situation.
          That is not to say that the Church has any less responsibility to a person
          accused of examinable conduct, whether admitted or not. It is with these
          relationships that this section is primarily concerned, whatever the ultimate
          consequences may be on the ministry or employment of the Church worker

3.2       Given the barriers referred to in paragraph 1.4, the Church needs to
          demonstrate, right at the beginning of any Protocol for handling complaints,
          that it understands:

          3.2.1      What harassment, assault and sexually inappropriate behaviour is;


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          3.2.2      The effect of such conduct on victims, their families, friends,
                     congregations and other relationships, and the needs of all involved,
                     including the respondent;

          3.2.3      That harassment, assault and sexually inappropriate behaviour may
                     also involve emotional, spiritual and/or physical abuse and the
                     complainant‟s need for all their issues to be dealt with;

          3.2.4      The impact of harassment, assault and sexually inappropriate
                     behaviour in the context of a pastoral relationship or other
                     relationship where power is an issue.

3.3       To show understanding of harassment, assault and sexually inappropriate
          behaviour, it is more useful for the Protocol to describe the behaviour and
          give examples, rather than attempt define it. For example:

              Harassment is any offensive, belittling or threatening behaviour directed at an
              individual or group, which is unwelcome, unsolicited, usually unreciprocated and
              often (but not always) repeated.

              For harassment to occur, there does not need to be an intention to offend or
              harass. The test is whether it was reasonable in all the circumstances that the
              person felt offended, belittled or threatened. Moreover, harassment may be of a
              minor nature.

              Examples of harassing behaviour include:

              (a)    Offensive physical contact, derogatory language or intimidating actions;

              (b)    Insulting or threatening gestures or language (overt or implied) or continual
                     and unwarranted shouting;

              (c)    Unjustified and unnecessary comments about a person‟s capacities or

              (d)    Openly displayed pictures, posters, graffiti or written materials which might
                     be offensive to some;

              (e)    Phone calls or messages on electronic mail or computer networks which
                     are threatening, abusive or offensive;

              (f)    Persistent following or stalking .

              Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a
              person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, and where that reaction is
              reasonable in the circumstances. Many kinds of behaviour can amount to sexual
              harassment if they offend or intimidate another person:

              (a)    jokes, gestures, displays of offensive pictures;
              (b)    telephone or e-mail messages;
              (c)    physical contact or expressions of affection that are not reciprocated;
              (d)    implicit or explicit demands of a sexual nature;
              (e)    refusing to leave another person alone when requested;

SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

              (f)    observation (such as by a „peeping Tom”)

              Sexual harassment does not arise in the context of choice and mutual consent.

3.4       The Protocol will also need to:

          3.4.1      Acknowledge that:

                     (a)    whether behaviour is viewed as sexual and/or as inappropriate
                            by a person will depend on many “factors associated with the
                            characteristics of the behaviour, the relative age, social and
                            professional positions of the participants, the willingness of and
                            reasons for each party‟s participation, and the circumstances
                            under which it is undertaken”, as well as their cultural
                            background. (See Discussion Paper of Anglican Diocese of
                            Melbourne – Power and Trust in the Church, November 2002);

                     (b)    for the purpose of attending to the needs of complainants,
                            whether harassment has occurred is a subjective matter and
                            should not be dependent on whether Church officers or the
                            respondent regard the behaviour complained of in this light.
                            The emphasis should be on inclusiveness - encouraging
                            anyone who believes that harassment or sexually inappropriate
                            behaviour has occurred to use the Protocol;

          3.4.2      Describe accurately, sympathetically and separately, the range of
                     possible impacts on complainants, respondents and secondary
                     victims, such as the parties‟ families, friends, other relationships
                     (including work and pastoral) and their church community;

          3.4.3      Acknowledge the Church‟s past failure to deal effectively with the
                     issue of sexual and child abuse, the impact of that failure, including
                     re-victimisation, and how in general it proposes to deal differently
                     and more effectively with the issue from now on.

3.5       To ensure that people will report harassment, assault and sexually
          inappropriate behaviour, and will use the Protocol to do so, informants and
          complainants need to be assured by the Protocol that:

          3.5.1      The impact of harassment, assault and sexually inappropriate
                     behaviour in the context of a pastoral relationship or other
                     relationship where power is an issue will be addressed.

          3.5.2      All complaints will be treated very seriously and promptly;

          3.5.3      All complainants will be treated respectfully, empathically, and will be
                     provided with pastoral care and ongoing long-term support, including
                     on-going professional counselling where appropriate ;


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          3.5.4      Complainants‟ rights to privacy, confidentiality, and to make their
                     own informed choices, will be respected and supported;

          3.5.5      All reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that there is no
                     recurrence of the problem behaviour, and that there are no reprisals
                     for providing information/proceeding with the complaint;

          3.5.6      Complainants are invited to come forward at any time in relation to
                     past examinable conduct, no matter how long ago, so that their
                     ongoing needs can be addressed and any disadvantage redressed
                     as far as practicable.

3.6       The Protocol will also need to ensure that:

          3.6.1      The system for receiving, assessing, investigating and resolving
                     information and complaints is clearly described;

          3.6.2      Any Church workers accused of harassment, assault or sexually
                     inappropriate behaviour are supported and their rights respected;

          3.6.3      Allegations of harassment, assault or sexually inappropriate
                     behaviour involving possible illegal behaviour will be reported to the

          3.6.4      Allegations which suggest that a child or children are at risk of harm
                     will be reported to the state or territory child protection authorities;

          3.6.5      Where the allegations affect the respondent‟s fitness to hold office,
                     there is a concise description of the processes involved in
                     determining this issue and deciding outcomes.

3.7       There are a considerable number of factors, which may vary from matter to
          matter, which need to be addressed in the Protocol:

          3.7.1      The initial information may:

                     (a)    come from the victim or from someone else;
                     (b)    be verbal or in writing;
                     (c)    identify or conceal the offender;
                     (d)    be clear or unclear about what action/response the informant
                     (e)    be subject to a request for confidentiality or not;
                     (f)    be directed to the appropriate person under the Protocol or not.

          3.7.2      The Complainant may:

                     (a)    already have spoken to others (inside or outside the church)
                            about the abuse;
                     (b)    have spoken to no-one else, and


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                     (c)    already have accessed advice and support (professional or
                            other) or may not.

          3.7.3      The person who is alleged to have committed the abuse may be:

                     (a)    alive or dead or of unknown whereabouts;
                     (b)    may know of the complainant‟s allegations or be completely
                            unaware of them;
                     (c)    may wish to have the matter investigated to clear their name
                            even if the complainant does not wish to proceed;
                     (d)    may wish to make counter allegations of abuse.

          3.7.4      The complainant/s and respondent may be living in different
                     dioceses and the events complained of may have taken place in

          3.7.5      If a complaint is made and a record is kept of that complaint, even if
                     it is not proceeded with, natural justice may require that the alleged
                     perpetrator is informed, unless there are safety concerns.

Recommended Structure

3.8       Given all the considerations outlined in paragraph 3.7 as well as others
          referred to earlier in this report, it is hard to devise a Protocol which will deal
          appropriately with all cases, and any structure is going to require flexibility in
          its implementation. Both despite and because of these difficulties, the
          Working Group remains convinced of the vital importance of nationally
          consistent approach set out in a national Protocol and recommends that the
          following structure be implemented to administer that Protocol:

          3.8.1      A Professional Standards Committee (PSC) is appointed for each
                     diocese, reporting to the Bishop and the Diocesan Council;

          3.8.2      A PSC should have at least three members who collectively satisfy
                     the following requirements:

                     (a)    experience in law;
                     (b)    experience in the ordained Ministry;
                     (c)    experience and appropriate professional qualifications in child
                            protection, social work or counselling;
                     (d)    where possible, gender balance;
                     (e)    where possible, a person who is not a member of this Church.

          3.8.3      It is recommended that:

                     (a)    without disclosing the identify of any informant or complainant
                            or the subject of any information, a PSC should report annually
                            to the diocesan council of the diocese within four months of the
                            end of each calendar year on its activities for that calendar year
                            in respect of that diocese;


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                     (b)    a PSC or Director of Professional Standards should, in respect
                            of every matter with which it is dealing on behalf of a diocese
                            for which it is appointed, report, either orally or in writing, to the
                            Bishop of that diocese with such frequency and as fully as the
                            Bishop may reasonably require.

          3.8.4      A Director of Professional Standards (“DPS”) should be appointed by
                     the PSC and be a member of it, but not the chair.

          3.8.5      A panel of contact persons should be appointed, who will provide
                     initial information and support to complainants/informants and assist
                     them to make an informed choice about whether to proceed with a
                     complaint and how to go about it, including the preparation of a
                     summary of the complaint.

          3.8.6      There must be notification to the person accused/respondent of the
                     substance of information/complaint by the DPS and names of a
                     contact/support person discussed with the person.

          3.8.7      There must be the ability to refer either partly to counsellors, if that
                     party needs therapeutic support. (A panel should be available but
                     individuals can also use own counsellor). For this purpose the DPS
                     and contact persons will need to have authority to refer/pay up to a
                     certain number of sessions, and thereafter with the ability of the PSC
                     or compensation panel to approve additional sessions.

          3.8.8      There needs to be provision of advice and ongoing support where
                     necessary for others involved – e.g. family members, clergy,

          3.8.9      There needs to be an ability to refer to mediation or conciliation
                     (confidential except for outcomes), if the complainant, respondent
                     and PSC agree and it is appropriate.

          3.8.10 Investigation of complaints and information by or on behalf of the
                 PSC (recognising that in some cases information may come from
                 person/s other than a complainant or victim), must be undertaken

                     (a)    the complaint is false, vexatious or trivial;
                     (b)    the complainant refuses/neglects to provide information/
                     (c)    the complaint, with the consent of the complainant, respondent
                            and the PSC, is subject to an alternative process and the
                            alternative process leads to a pastoral resolution and the PSC
                            considers that the complaint does not bear on the respondent‟s
                            fitness to hold office.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          3.8.11 A Panel needs to be in place to advise the PSC as to appropriate
                 reparation for the complainant and to deal with insurance companies
                 and litigation.

          3.8.12 There     must    be    proper   maintenance      of  records     of
                 complaints/information received (even if not proceeded with), of any
                 actions taken by the PSC and of any outcomes.

          3.8.13 In relation to child abuse matters there should where possible be
                 developed a protocol for working with Child Protection authorities.

          3.8.14 There must be provision of regular information/reports and
                 advice/recommendations by the DPS to the Bishop, in confidence, at
                 each stage of the process (see 3.8.3) so that appropriate pastoral
                 care and other steps, including possible suspension, can be taken in
                 a timely fashion, and so that other necessary decisions can be taken
                 by the Bishop being fully informed, where those decisions may
                 impinge on, or be affected by, a matter being handled by the PSC.

3.9       Some of these matters will be provided for in legislation. Some will form part
          of the non-statutory Protocol.

Responding to Information – Specific Issues

3.10      The Working Group recommends that the Protocol provide for a number of
          specific issues in relation to the Church‟s handling of information and
          complaints. They are dealt with in the paragraphs that follow.

3.11      Contact Persons for the Complainant

          3.11.1 The most important initial requirement is to provide a skilled person
                 who can listen and respond respectfully, compassionately and
                 confidentially to the person making the complaint or disclosure and
                 assist them to:

                     (a)    clarify what has happened, the outcomes they want, the
                            various ways of achieving their objectives, the various
                            procedures and support available under the Protocol, the
                            voluntary nature of the Protocol as far as they are concerned,
                            and other available avenues of redress, both formal and
                     (b)    access appropriate advice and support (professional and
                     (c)    make informed choices about whether and how to proceed
                            under the Protocol and then help them to do so;

          3.11.2 It is not helpful for informants/complainants to have to keep telling
                 their story or to ring up an 1800 line and get a recorded message. It
                 is also difficult for complainants, who are disclosing abuse for the
                 first time, to make a decision about what to disclose, if there may be


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                     consequences of doing so which they are unaware of. What
                     information is recorded, at what stage, and for what purpose, can be
                     an important issue for some complainants. Possible outcomes for
                     the respondent or others, which the complainant has not anticipated,
                     may also be an issue.

          3.11.3 One solution is to have a telephone number with a real person
                 answering it during office hours, who takes the name and telephone
                 number of the person, but no other details, and undertakes to ensure
                 that a contact person will call them back within a specified time and
                 arrange a face to face meeting. This allows for a small panel of
                 contact persons to be appointed to undertake the role (by the DPS
                 and subject to his/her general supervision), or the task could be
                 contracted out to an organization experienced in dealing with
                 complaints of harassment (especially sexual).

          3.11.4      Whatever method is chosen, it should ensure that:

                     (a)    there is always a contact person available;
                     (b)    the contact person appointed is not known to the informant/
                     (c)    the complainant does not have to keep repeating their story;
                     (d)    the complainant can tell their story in confidence, receive
                            information and be referred to counselling if necessary, before
                            deciding whether, how and when they wish to proceed with a

          3.11.5 The Working Group is strongly of the view that the contact person
                 should have that role and no other. Otherwise issues of
                 confidentiality arise.

          3.11.6 It is also strongly recommended that, even in cases where the
                 complainant has lodged a formal and detailed written complaint with
                 a Bishop or other church authority, the matter should be referred
                 immediately to the DPS, who should arrange for a contact person to
                 contact the complainant and make sure that s/he understands the
                 Protocol, the procedures and supports available under it, and check
                 with the complainant how they wish to proceed.

          3.11.7 The contact person should advise the complainant of their rights,
                 and those of the person accused, including privacy and
                 confidentiality under the Protocol, and any limits to those rights, e.g.
                 that any matter where child abuse or other serious criminal offence is
                 alleged should be referred to the police and/or child protection

          3.11.8 If a decision is made to proceed under the Protocol, a written and
                 signed complaint, or notes of details of the complaint signed by the
                 complainant, will be forwarded to the DPS.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          3.11.9 Whether the contact person will have an ongoing role as a case
                 manager/support person to the complainant will need to be clearly
                 stated in the Protocol – for example: linking the complainant with the
                 DPS (and the PSC) and various services and processes
                 (counselling, mediation or conciliation, investigation etc), subject to
                 the direction of the DPS.

          3.11.10 Where a panel of contact persons is appointed guidelines should
                  specify how they should proceed. The preliminary thinking of the
                  Working Group on this issue is set out in an Appendix to this Report
                  as Tentative Guidelines for Contact Persons

3.12      Dealing with Respondents

          3.12.1 Although the contact person may recommend/support the
                 complainant in progressing their complaint and in requesting that
                 certain action be taken, it is not their role, or that of the complainant,
                 to decide whether or how a complaint once made will be dealt with.
                 That is the role of the DPS and PSC.

          3.12.2 The DPS has to assess whether the written complaint reasonably
                 falls under the Protocol, and if not to advise the complainant how it
                 can properly be dealt with. The DPS also needs to consider whether
                 mediation/conciliation is likely to resolve some or all of the issues
                 raised by the complainant and to seek consent from all parties to
                 refer the matter to a mediator/conciliator. The DPS also needs to
                 assess whether the seriousness of the allegations requires a
                 recommendation to the relevant church authority that the respondent
                 be suspended, pending investigation of the issues.

          3.12.3 The respondent should normally be informed at the earliest possible
                 time of any allegations made about him or her. Care needs to be
                 taken with regard to who does this and how it is done.

          3.12.4 The Working Group believes that in all cases it will be inappropriate
                 for the Bishop to take the role of informing, advising and supporting
                 the respondent, as there will nearly always be a perceived bias or
                 actual bias or conflict of roles.

          3.12.5 It is therefore recommended that a separate contact and/or support
                 person be appointed by the DPS for the respondent. This contact
                 person will then arrange to see the respondent face to face, inform
                 them of the allegations, provide a copy of the complaint, inform them
                 of their rights under the Protocol and supports available, (including
                 counselling, legal advice, and the time in which they have to respond
                 to the complaint) and assist them to decide on their response to the
                 complaint and any request for mediation/conciliation.

          3.12.6 Once the response to the complaint has been received, the DPS, in
                 consultation with the PSC, should decide whether the matter


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                     requires    further    investigation  and     if  so,     appoint                       an
                     investigator/investigation team to conduct the investigation.

3.13      Investigation and disclosure

          3.13.1 Once the Investigator‟s report is received the DPS, in consultation
                 with PSC, will decide whether the findings warrant referral of the
                 matter to the Professional Standards Board (see Section 4) and will
                 inform the parties accordingly.

          3.13.2 A PSC must disclose to the PSC of another diocese all information in
                 its possession concerning the alleged examinable conduct of a
                 church worker –

                     (a)    presently residing in that other diocese; or
                     (b)    where the conduct is alleged to have occurred in that other
                            diocese; or
                     (c)    when it becomes aware of a possible victim of examinable
                            conduct resident in that diocese.

          3.13.3 A PSC may release to the public such information as it may
                 determine with respect to any information which results in –

                     (a)    relinquishment of the exercise of Holy Orders; or
                     (b)    relief from the exercise of Holy Orders; or
                     (c)    any determination of the Board of the diocese.

3.14      Addressing the needs of Others

          3.14.1 The DPS needs to ensure that the pastoral needs of all individuals or
                 groups who may be affected by the allegations of abuse are
                 identified and strategies to manage their care, both short term and
                 long term, are developed, implemented and monitored over time.

3.15      Financial assistance and compensation

          3.15.1 The possible need to provide counselling and other support
                 mechanisms to victims has already been referred to. Other forms of
                 financial assistance and compensation may be necessary according
                 to the circumstances. The PSC must be alive to this and be
                 prepared to take a proactive approach, rather than await a formal
                 demand for compensation which usually comes through a solicitor‟s

          3.15.2 Experience has shown that many such claims for compensation are
                 pursued because of inadequate and unsympathetic responses when
                 the matter was first raised. Reconciliation with the victim is much
                 more difficult when attitudes have hardened to the point of obtaining
                 legal advice, and will seldom be achieved merely by the payment of
                 monetary compensation.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          3.15.3 It is in consideration of this type of financial assistance and
                 compensation that reliance on strict legal rights may be counter-
                 productive. Church bodies may, in some cases, appear to be
                 protected from financial demands either by a statute of limitations, by
                 virtue of the fact that the responsible person or body corporate no
                 longer exists, by a plea that the perpetrator was acting beyond the
                 scope of his or her employment or by some other available defence.
                 Careful consideration will need to be given at an early stage, in
                 conjunction with any appropriate Church body and insurer, as to
                 whether an ex gratia payment should be offered, and the terms on
                 which it should be offered. It must always be borne in mind that
                 reliance on technical legal defences may well be perceived as
                 avoidance by the Church of its obligations and of its responsibility to
                 injured victims.

          3.15.4 However, to give undue emphasis to financial compensation of
                 victims in any Protocol is to concentrate on a subsidiary aspect of a
                 larger problem. But it is an aspect which must be faced and be dealt
                 with in a uniform way by the Church. Inconsistency of approach can
                 only serve to aggravate an already difficult situation with a victim.
                 The public perception is of one indivisible Church. The Roman
                 Catholic experience is that multiple compensation schemes
                 inevitably attract criticism. While the question of compensation may
                 well form part of a mediation or conciliation, it is helpful to have
                 standard principles on which the question will normally be

          3.15.5 The Working Group has not been able to consider the question
                 whether the Protocol should provide for compensation up to a stated
                 maximum amount or the conditions on which such compensation
                 should be administered. Such schemes have their strengths and
                 their weaknesses. What should be addressed are the matters that
                 need to be considered in determining whether a voluntary payment
                 should be offered and in determining the amount. Some assistance
                 might be obtained from the Litigation Committee proposed in Section
                 5. Substantial assistance would be gained by the sharing of
                 information among Directors of Professional Standards. This is an
                 area where more work needs to be done in developing a national
                 approach. We are conscious that several dioceses are already in
                 the course of developing such schemes, and that experience should
                 be harnessed and coordinated.

4.1       Present clergy discipline provisions in the whole Australian Church have
          their foundation in Chapter 9 of the Constitution. They appear to have been
          written on the assumption that the only offences of any significance will be
          doctrinal, and perhaps an occasional transgression of discipline. Such


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          transgressions are to be tried in the Court of the Bishop, who may be the
          prosecutor, president of the tribunal and executioner, suspender or mitigator
          of any sentence. At the same time, the Bishop is expected to provide
          pastoral care and assistance to the person allegedly affected by the conduct
          and to the ordained person concerned. All this places the Bishop in an
          impossible position. The procedures are presently cast as adversarial
          procedures based on an alleged breach of faith, ritual, ceremonial or
          discipline, with appropriate degrees of punishment ranging from monition, to
          deposition from Holy Orders. Naturally, in that form, they require treatment
          in the manner to which we are accustomed in our civil courts, with a
          prosecutor, a defendant, a judge and ultimately a victor and a vanquished.
          They apply to ordained persons and to some other persons licensed by the
          Bishop. In some dioceses legislation extends to some other Church
          workers. In others it does not.

4.2       A more enlightened approach to victims, an accused person and to the
          welfare of the Church requires a different approach in cases of examinable

4.3       It will be the Professional Standards Committee which, on the scheme
          proposed, will become aware of any and all allegations of examinable
          conduct involving a Church worker. Reference has already been made in
          Section 1 of this report to the need to take other appropriate action where
          the conduct renders a person unfit to hold office, which requires some
          qualification or restriction on the performance of the office or employment, or
          which so impairs the person‟s ministry or employment that the person is
          unable to fulfil the duties of office or employment.

4.4       If a Professional Standards Committee is dealing with examinable conduct of
          a Church worker which calls in question the person‟s fitness to hold office, it
          is proposed that it must investigate that conduct except where it considers
          that the allegations are false, vexatious, misconceived or trivial, where the
          subject matter is under investigation by some other competent person or
          authority or is the subject of legal proceedings, where the person making
          allegations fails to provide particulars or to verify the allegations by statutory
          declaration, or where there is insufficient evidence to warrant an
          investigation. The PSC is to obtain such information as is available relating
          to the examinable conduct, including information from the person accused,
          who is required to cooperate with the Committee.

4.5       In the course of its investigation it may recommend to the relevant Church
          authority that the person be suspended or be the subject of an interim
          prohibition order, prohibiting the Church worker from holding a specified
          position, office or employment by a Church body or Church authority or from
          carrying out any special functions.

4.6       If, after investigation the PSC still considers that the examinable conduct, if
          established, could result in action referred to in paragraph 4.7 being taken,
          the result of the investigation would then be referred to a Diocesan


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          Professional Standards Board. The Professional Standards Board would be
          constituted from a panel comprising:

          4.6.1      A President and a Deputy President, both of whom should be eligible
                     for appointment as lay members of the Appellate Tribunal;

          4.6.2      Five members of the clergy of at least seven years‟ standing; and

          4.6.3      Five lay persons who are members of the Church.

          A Board would be constituted for a particular inquiry by the President and
          would consist of the President or Deputy President and either one or two
          clerical and lay members of the panel. It would not be bound by the rules of
          evidence. The relevant legislation would make provision for the conduct of
          proceedings by the Board, which would be essentially inquisitorial, with the
          assistance of the Professional Standards Committee, but whilst ensuring that
          the person the subject of the inquiry would have access to all relevant
          information and would be able to be represented upon the inquiry.

4.7       If the Board is satisfied that examinable conduct has occurred, it would have
          a number of possible courses which it could recommend to the appropriate
          Church authority. They include counselling or reprimanding the Church
          worker; suspension from office or employment; revocation of a licence;
          termination of a contract of employment; that the Church worker cease to
          hold any office then held; the making of a prohibition order, (see paragraph
          4.5); deposition from Holy Orders. It could recommend imposing conditions
          or restrictions, and the suspension of any order upon such conditions as it
          may recommend. It would be up to the Church authority concerned to
          implement this recommendation or to explain publicly why it is not to be
          implemented. However, without an amendment to the Constitution it may
          not be possible for the Church authority to implement some types of
          recommendation in a particular case. How to overcome that problem is
          referred to further in Section 6.

4.8       Allied with the proposed new provisions of inquiry by a Board, which
          provisions are directed almost exclusively to the fitness of the person to
          continue in office, provision should be made for the voluntary relinquishment
          of orders, relief from orders and consensual deposition from orders –
          procedures not hitherto available, or the validity of which is somewhat
          doubtful. The Church Law Commission is already preparing appropriate
          legislation on those topics.

4.9       There is relatively little difficulty in giving effect to such recommendations in
          the case of voluntary workers. In the case of ordained persons, the
          procedures in some cases may be complicated. In the case of employees of
          various Church organisations, the ability to give effect to the
          recommendations will depend upon appropriate provisions being
          incorporated into the contract of employment. In any event, the declaration
          by the Professional Standards Board will be effective as a declaration by an
          authoritive Church body as to how this Church in the future regards such a


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          person. A Church authority who or which appoints such a person to a
          position contrary to a recommendation of the Board would do so at some
          peril and probably at risk of any insurance cover the Church body might
          otherwise have.

4.10      Because of the effect that an action of the Professional Standards Board
          might have on a person‟s employment and ministry in the Church, there
          should be provision for a national Appeal Tribunal to hear appeals from
          recommendations of a Professional Standards Board except where it may be
          necessary to proceed through the existing tribunal system.

5.1 This Section deals with administrative procedures that each diocese should
    have in place to support the scheme.

Appropriate Insurance

5.2 Each diocese will obviously decide for itself the extent to which it insures and
    the identity of its Insurer. However it is noteworthy that approximately sixteen
    dioceses are insured under a group arrangement. The Working Group has
    been advised by an expert in the area that:

       5.2.1       Insurers will exclude from liability and cover claims where the Church
                   had previous notice of “form” by a perpetrator. That would include
                   information in the hands of a bishop or other Church Official which
                   has not been acted on or adequately dealt with.

       5.2.2       It has been demonstrated that there is advantage in establishing a
                   strong commercial relationship with the Group Insurer which allows
                   early engagement with the Insurer when a claim is notified and the
                   funding by the Insurer of early assistance for the claimant/victim, such
                   as appropriate counselling.

5.3       Each diocese will need to review the covenants under its policy. It would be
          desirable for the diocese to be assured that the Insurer agrees with its
          protocols and procedures. In most cases the Insurer welcomes appropriate
          protocols for proper handling of claims because the result often is a
          minimisation of the potential monetary liability under the policy. One Insurer
          expects that the Church will care for victims notwithstanding that admissions
          of liability may be technically in breach of the policy covenants. It would
          seem that saying “sorry” and providing counselling may not amount to an
          admission of liability. These are matters which should be taken up by a
          diocese with its Insurer.

Case Handling Procedures


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

5.4       The Working Group received an extensive report from Peter Dunning, a
          barrister from Brisbane is a member of the Brisbane Litigation Committee
          detailing the manner in which the Diocese of Brisbane had dealt with recent
          litigation. That experience would be of benefit to any diocese facing litigation.
          That experience also reinforces the need to take a proactive approach to the
          provision of financial assistance and monetary compensation. However,
          some formal claims and legal proceedings will be inevitable.

5.5       It would be wise for every diocese to establish a Litigation Committee to act
          in respect of any claim for compensation. Waiting to establish it until a claim
          is made may be too late, as these claims must be dealt with promptly. The
          Brisbane committee comprises two practising barristers and a retired
          insurance company manager. The combined resources of lawyers
          experienced in insurance litigation and the manager of an Insurer has
          obviously been of significance in the Brisbane experience and is highly
          recommended to other dioceses.

5.6       The role of the litigation committee includes:

          5.6.1      With diocesan solicitors, engaging the Insurer‟s solicitors to obtain
                     copies of all relevant pleadings, and being kept informed of progress
                     in the course of the litigation.

          5.6.2      Becoming involved where necessary in any mediation or settlement

          5.6.3      Generally acting as the diocesan representative in liaison and
                     negotiation with the Insurers throughout the conduct of the trial.

          5.6.4      Where necessary contributing to any settlement to ensure that the
                     action is settled if it is at all possible. Often a contribution by the
                     diocese over and above what the Insurer is prepared to pay will be
                     important to achieve pre-trial settlement of the action.

          5.6.5      Intervening where necessary to ensure that litigation is conducted as
                     expeditiously as possible, that the interests of the Church as well as
                     those of the Insurer are kept in an appropriate balance, and that the
                     object of assisting the plaintiff/victim is kept in focus.

5.7       The Litigation Committee should also monitor and ensure that an apology is
          made where and when that is appropriate to assist not only the victim
          personally but also the facilitation of settlement of the action.


5.8       The proper conduct of sexual abuse protocols and the handling of claims
          needs to be funded. Each diocese should include such funding in its


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

5.9       This may involve the sale of diocesan assets or perhaps borrowing on their
          security at least until there is some certainty as to the likely nature and
          extent of a claim or group of claims. The Brisbane experience involves the
          levying of parishes and schools as a surcharge on the usual insurance levy.

Records and Information

5.10      Each diocese will need to have recognised procedures for the creation and
          maintenance of appropriate records. These should include records of
          persons who have offended and who should not be engaged in ministry,
          employment or holding an office in the diocese.

5.11      The Working Group recommends that the findings of a Professional
          Standards Board should be recorded in the diocesan registry and in a
          national register of such findings which should be accessible to all diocesan

5.12      Each diocese will need to be aware of the provisions of Privacy legislation
          and ensure compliance with regard to record keeping and notification to a
          national register.

6.1       It is not appropriate for the national Code of Conduct being developed by the
          Child Protection Committee, and referred to in Section 2 of this report, to be
          embodied in a Canon of General Synod or an Ordinance of a Diocesan
          Synod. By its very nature it is not prescriptive but is intended to set general
          minimum standards and ideals of conduct by which this Church and its
          Church workers will be judged. It will have obvious relevance to the
          deliberations of a Professional Standards Board.

6.2       It is intended that legislation should provide for the approval from time to
          time of the national Code of Conduct and variations of it, and that there
          should be a statutory obligation on the Standing Committee, diocesan
          councils and Professional Standards Committees to promote knowledge,
          understanding and observance of the Code. Development of the national
          Code should be continued by the Child Protection Committee.

6.3       Legislation should also enable diocesan synods or diocesan councils to
          consider and approve a diocesan Code of Conduct which would be
          supplementary to the national Code, and which should be able to vary or
          qualify within the diocese the operation of the national Code. This is to
          recognise that there will be differences in emphasis and sometimes of
          substance between dioceses as to what constitutes desirable standards of
          conduct in certain areas.

6.4       Legislation should also provide for the adoption by the Standing Committee
          of General Synod of a national Protocol, the principles of which are
          described in Section 3 of this report. It is undesirable that there be diocesan


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          variations of such a Protocol, as uniformity of approach throughout the
          Church in handling situations of examinable conduct should be paramount.
          There should be a statutory obligation on the Standing Committee and all
          diocesan councils and Professional Standards Committees to promote
          throughout the Australian community a knowledge and understanding of the
          national Protocol.

6.5       There must be a statutory obligation on all Bishops and Church authorities to
          report to the Diocesan Professional Standards Committee any instances of
          examinable conduct which come to their notice. Without that, there will be a
          continuing risk that complaints will be mishandled, that wounds will remain
          open and that cloaks of secrecy will remain. By instances of examinable
          conduct we mean any complaint or information about alleged examinable
          conduct of which the Church authority becomes aware. The information may
          not be able to be taken anywhere immediately, because the real victim may
          be unwilling to cooperate. By itself, the information may mean little. Taken
          with other information in the hands of the Professional Standards
          Committee, it may be extremely important.            However, without such
          information the Professional Standards Committee will be hamstrung in its
          attempt to discharge its proper obligations to victims, to the alleged
          perpetrator, to the Church and to the community. Church authorities can no
          longer remain confident in the belief that their method of handling a problem
          will be satisfactory.

6.6       In Sections 3 and 4 of this report we have referred to the various structures
          that will have to be put in place in each diocese by legislation, in order to
          administer the national Protocol in that diocese, and in that diocese to deal
          with situations of unfitness to continue in office or of the need for
          qualifications on a Church worker‟s continuing in office or employment. The
          integrity of the system both for the Church and in the eyes of the community
          will fail if there is not a uniform system in place in each diocese, and if there
          is not a national register of determinations of Professional Standards Boards
          in which all determinations must be recorded, and to which at least diocesan
          Bishops may have access. No longer is it acceptable to sweep a problem
          under the carpet in the hope that the perpetrator will take his problem
          elsewhere or be encouraged to do so, without warning, to another diocese.

6.7       The question is how best to implement these procedures nationally so that
          all dioceses proceed down the same path, and as far as possible at the
          same time. It is tempting to suggest that General Synod should pass a
          Canon requiring every diocese to put in place and to pay for the necessary
          structures, and prescribing the necessary procedures. However, that would
          be doomed to fail for several reasons:

          6.7.1      There are constitutional limitations on the power of General Synod to
                     legislate to require Diocesan Synods in turn to legislate and to spend
                     money, even if the diocese by ordinance were to adopt the Canon;

          6.7.2      Even without those limitations, to impose such a requirement on
                     dioceses would invite a refusal to adopt the legislation;


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          6.7.3      There is an urgency in most dioceses to have appropriate legislation
                     in place as soon as possible. The earliest the General Synod could
                     legislate is 2004, even if such legislation were to prove to be
                     acceptable to all dioceses.

          General Synod itself could set up, and pay by means of the assessment for,
          a national Professional Standards Committee, a national Director of
          Professional Standards and a national Professional Standards Board, with
          those bodies acting in diocesan or provincial divisions. We do not think that
          the national Church is ready for that yet, and such an approach would allow
          little diocesan flexibility. It would also invite refusal to adopt a Canon.

6.8       After considering a number of alternatives, the Working Group has decided
          that the major components of the scheme will most effectively be put in place
          by each diocesan synod passing legislation which, as far as possible, is
          uniform, and that dioceses be discouraged from amending that legislation
          other than in accordance with an agreed national scheme. This will require
          cooperation and goodwill. It may require altering existing schemes which
          may appear adequate. What is important is that this Church presents a
          unified and workable approach to a problem that does not know diocesan

6.9       It is recognised that not all dioceses have the financial resources or access
          to the required professional personnel to set up the scheme proposed. In
          the Working Group‟s view, every diocese must have a Professional
          Standards Committee and a Director of Professional Standards who report
          to the Bishop and Diocesan Council of that diocese alone. It must also have
          a Professional Standards Board which makes recommendations to the
          Church authorities in that diocese alone. But there is no reason why these
          bodies and offices should not be shared, either by one diocese adopting as
          its own the relevant bodies of another diocese, or by coming to some
          appropriate arrangement with another diocese whereby it may participate in
          the appointment of those persons or bodies, with some agreed cost sharing
          arrangement. In some cases it may be able to be organised on existing
          provincial lines. In other cases, that may be inappropriate, although doctrinal
          differences between dioceses should be irrelevant in determining
          appropriate groupings for this purpose. What will dictate the groupings is
          how the diocesan needs for participation in the scheme can best be served.
          It is not possible for this Working Group to determine what might be the best
          combination of dioceses in a particular case or how those arrangements
          should be worked out. Geography will play a part, but developments in
          technology have been able to ease the tyranny of distance. What must
          happen is that those dioceses lacking the resources to create their own
          structures must begin immediate discussions with those dioceses with whom
          they might be able satisfactorily to share resources. This will need active
          facilitation by the Metropolitans and the General Secretary.

6.10      What is proposed by the Working Group is that the Church Law Commission
          should now develop suitable model diocesan legislation which each diocese


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

          should be strongly encouraged to enact in order to give effect in that diocese
          to the proposals outlined in this report. Such legislation would need to

          6.10.1 A common set of definitions of significant terms;

          6.10.2 An undertaking by the Synod to implement in the diocese, as
                 suggested in paragraph 6.2, the national Code of Conduct as
                 approved by an appropriate body which might be the Standing

          6.10.3 A provision for the diocesan synod or diocesan council to approve a
                 supplementary diocesan Code of Conduct having the effect as
                 discussed in paragraph 6.3;

          6.10.4 The creation and membership of a Professional Standards
                 Committee for the diocese having the qualifications and powers
                 suggested in Sections 3 and 4 of this report. The size and method of
                 appointment may need to vary from diocese to diocese and
                 according to the arrangements agreed by participating dioceses;

          6.10.5 The appointment for the diocese of a Director of Professional
                 Standards. This will necessarily be a paid office but may be full-time
                 or part-time depending on the expected and actual workload;

          6.10.6 The appointment of a Professional Standards Board having the
                 functions and powers mentioned in Section 4 of this report. The
                 method of appointment may need to vary from diocese to diocese
                 according to the arrangements agreed by participating dioceses;

          6.10.7 The adoption in the diocese of the national Protocol as approved
                 from time to time by the Standing Committee of General Synod;

          6.10.8 The requirement that any determination of the Professional
                 Standards Board be recorded in the registry of the diocese and on
                 the national register of determinations;

          6.10.9 Provisions relating to comity and cooperation. There will often be
                 inter-diocesan elements to a particular situation. For example, there
                 may be conduct occurring in one diocese by a Church worker now
                 resident or licensed in another diocese, with a victim now living in a
                 third diocese. The legislation should require that the Professional
                 Standards Committee shall be required to observe comity and
                 courtesies between dioceses by ensuring that, as far as practicable,
                 complaints are dealt with in the diocese in which the alleged
                 examinable conduct has the most substantial connection. There
                 would also be an obligation to inform any corresponding body of
                 another diocese of all information in the Professional Standards
                 Committee‟s possession concerning the alleged examinable conduct
                 of a Church worker residing in such other diocese, or where some of


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                     the conduct alleged occurred in that diocese, or where a victim may
                     be resident in that diocese.

6.11      There are at present constitutional difficulties in a Bishop being able to give
          effect to every recommendation of a Professional Standards Board. For
          example, if the Professional Standards Board were to recommend the
          termination of a licence, and the licence is terminable at the will of the
          Bishop, that could be given effect to. But if the licence is not so terminable, it
          may be that the only way it could be terminated against the will of the
          licensee, is by instituting proceedings for an ecclesiastical offence in the
          diocesan Tribunal constituted under Chapter 9 of the Constitution. That
          would almost certainly have to occur in the event of a recommendation
          involving deposition from Holy Orders, unless the member of clergy
          concerned voluntarily relinquished orders under the Canon being developed
          for that purpose by the Church Law Commission. It would therefore be
          necessary for a diocese to amend its present Discipline Clergy Ordinance or
          equivalent to create a new offence namely conduct which results in a
          recommendation of the Professional Standards Board in accordance with the
          relevant section of the new ordinance, and to provide that the report of the
          Professional Standards Board shall be prima facie evidence in the Tribunal if
          such conduct has occurred. The Tribunal could then, if it finds the charge
          proved, make one of the recommendations contemplated by section 60 of
          the Constitution.

6.12      Much of this is cumbersome, but is a product of our present Constitution,
          which takes substantial time and an extraordinary degree of consensus to

6.13      Besides diocesan legislation, there is legislation which should be passed by
          General Synod to give integrity to the scheme:

          6.13.1 Legislation providing for the continuing approval of amendments to
                 the national Code of Conduct and to the national Protocol. Such
                 legislation is not essential for the initial adoption of those documents.
                 However, it would be desirable to set up some ongoing machinery to
                 initiate review and revision of those documents so that they remain
                 uniform throughout Australia. (See paragraph 6.14 below).

          6.13.2 Legislation enabling voluntary consensual deposition from Orders
                 where examinable conduct is either acknowledged or found, and an
                 ordained person agrees to such course. This may of necessity
                 involve the use of a Chapter 9 tribunal. That is a matter for the
                 Church Law Commission to consider further.

          6.13.3 Legislation setting up the national register of determinations, and
                 providing access to its content;

          6.13.4 In the medium term, legislation to constitute a Professional
                 Standards Board as a tribunal under Chapter 9, thus giving it
                 statutory power of coercion available to tribunals for use if


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                     necessary, and enabling a Board‟s determinations to have the same
                     effect as orders of a Diocesan Tribunal under Chapter 9, without the
                     need for duplication of the procedures mentioned in paragraph 6.11;

          6.13.5 In the longer term, if the scheme gains universal and reasonably
                 uniform acceptance, legislation constituting the Professional
                 Standards Committees, Directors of Professional Standards and
                 Professional Standards Boards as organs of the General Synod, and
                 financing their operations by means of the assessment.

6.14      It is envisaged that Directors of Professional Standards should become a
          network under the General Synod Strategic Issues, Task Forces and Other
          Bodies Canon 1998. This would provide enormous benefits to the working
          of the scheme. It is envisaged that this network would be given powers
          under a Canon of General Synod to:

          6.14.1 Make recommendations from time to time to the appropriate bodies
                 as to amendments to the national Code of Conduct and the national

          6.14.2 Facilitate and if necessary determine which Professional Standards
                 Committee should conduct particular functions in relation to an inter-
                 diocesan situation of the type referred to in paragraph 6.10.9..

6.15      The Working Group has already gone some way to developing proposed
          legislation to cover some of these topics. It will make that work available to
          the Church Law Commission if the appropriate recommendations are
          adopted by the Standing Committee. If the Church Law Commission can be
          adequately resourced, appropriate legislation should be able to be prepared
          for diocesan consideration within a matter of months.

The Hon Justice Bleby
Chair, Sexual Abuse Working Group

Dated the 13th day of March 2003.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003


Where a panel of contact persons is appointed it could be useful to have guidelines for how
they should proceed. The following have been drafted by the Working Group with this in


                Persons who have been harassed are often very unclear about what outcomes
                they want. They may want to discuss the matter confidentially, find out what
                options they have under the Protocol and what processes will occur once they
                provide any information, and then go away and think about it or discuss it with
                a counsellor before deciding what to do.

                The Contact Person will, before obtaining any information from the
                informant/complainant, inform the person that any information they give to the
                Contact person will be recorded and passed on to the DPS, who may also
                report the matter to the Bishop, the respondent and the Diocese‟s insurer.

                If there is any ambivalence about discussing the matter further, the Contact
                person will refer the person to a counsellor either with the authority of the PSC
                or within guidelines determined by the PSC.


                            The Contact Person needs to make it clear that they are appointed by

                                   the PSC, a body set up by the Diocese to handle complaints of

                                   sexual abuse or harassment by church members, office

                                   bearers, employees, clergy…. and that it is their role to provide

                                   information with regard to the Protocol and to assist the person

                                   with initiating the complaint process.              They should further

                                   explain that it is not their role to provide legal advice or

                                   counselling and that they will be making referrals if appropriate.


                The Contact Person needs to listen empathically and identify the person‟s
                concerns and the background to their concerns.

                Diversity should be both expected and respected.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                It is important to ascertain from the perspective of the person who thinks that
                they have been abused/harassed:

                        what occurred;

                        when and where it occurred;

                        how the abuse/harassment affected them, e.g. how did they feel about

                        how did they respond when the incident/s occurred? How have they
                         been affected since?

                        whether they have already spoken to other people about the alleged
                         abuse/harassment - If yes, was it to friends? Family? The alleged
                         abuser/harasser? A priest or church officer? Anyone outside the
                         Church? Are they aware of the risks posed by defamation law and the
                         need to maintain confidentiality other than reporting the matter to
                         appropriate authorities?


                The Contact Person‟s role is primarily information, referral and reporting.
                However, someone who thinks they have been assaulted or harassed, whether
                sexually or otherwise, is likely to have wide-ranging needs. The experience of
                harassment may leave people feeling depressed, anxious, angry and
                confused. It may trigger episodes of real crisis and cause flashbacks in people
                who have suffered past abuses. The Contact Person needs to be alert to
                these issues and assist people to find appropriate support services.

                A Contact Person provides support by:

                (a)      Creating a safe physical and emotional environment in which the
                         person can tell their story without interruptions.

                (b)      Actively listening to them by paraphrasing, clarifying, and checking that
                         have understood the incident/s from their point of view.

                (c)      Identifying their stated priorities and introducing information about their
                         options so they can make informed choices about what they want to do.

                Providing information and initial support is not the same as counselling,
                although it draws on skills that are used by counsellors, e.g. reflective listening
                and affirming the person‟s strengths and abilities.

                Part of the Contact Person‟s skill is to know what they can provide
                appropriately and when and where to refer the person to other services for
                additional information, ongoing support and assistance, including confidential
                counselling and legal advice.

                Indicators for referral of a Complainant to a counsellor are:


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                         if the person is clinically depressed, traumatised or otherwise in need of
                          personal therapy;

                         if there appears to be any ambivalence about whether the person
                          wants to proceed with a complaint or how they want to proceed with a

                         if the person for any reason is not able to talk fully and openly to the
                          Contact Person;

                         if the person is too emotionally distressed to discuss the matter, talk
                          rationally or to make any decisions;

                         if the matter is likely to take some time to resolve and the person will
                          need emotional support through the process.

                To assist people to absorb information, it is helpful to convey information
                verbally and in writing, e.g. use handouts etc


              The Contact person needs to help the person identify:

              (a)       whether what occurred comes within the description of harassment,
                        assault or sexually inappropriate behaviour in the Protocol;

              (b)       the options and choices that are therefore available to them.

              The Contact person needs to ascertain what other advice, if any, has been
              sought or recommended. If others have become involved, there may need to be
              a contact for other professionals and persons involved in assisting the

              The Contact person must ALWAYS advise about:

                         Options available under the Protocol, i.e. Mediation/Conciliation,
                          Investigation and Determination (and that they usually occur in that

                         their right to take external action/other avenues of redress;

                         the rights of the alleged perpetrator to be informed and to respond;

                         any action which the PSC may take of its own initiative eg.

                If it is not harassment but is still problematic behaviour – tell the person
                immediately that it cannot be dealt with under this Protocol, how it can be dealt
                with and who they can see about it.


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003


                Discuss what they want and what they want to do next.                        Ask them what
                outcomes they are seeking.

                Advise people whose main aim is to redress any disadvantage that they may
                have suffered what courses may be open to them.

                Some people are readily able to articulate the fact that they want:

                        the behaviour to stop; or

                        the alleged harasser to know that the behaviour humiliated, intimidated
                         or offended them; or

                        something specific, such as a change of workplace arrangements,

                        financial compensation .

                These sorts of outcomes can often be achieved through informal procedures
                such as Mediation/Conciliation.

                Advise people whose main aim appears to be punitive involves explaining:

                (a)      That disciplinary measures may be the end result of a formal
                         proceeding, but are not the only possible outcome;

                (b)      That the person against whom the allegation is made has a right to
                         natural justice (including procedural fairness, the right to know the full
                         details of the allegation if a formal complaint is made, a right of reply
                         and a right to a fair hearing);

                (c)      The aims of the Protocol eg. to ensure that pastoral needs are met, that
                         no further harm occurs, etc

                They may need time to think about what to do and may change their minds.
                Need to follow up.

Advising alleged perpetrators of abuse

       A Contact Person must not advise both parties and if you are asked to act as Contact
       person for a Respondent in relation to a matter where you have already acted as
       Contact person for Respondent that you are/have been the Complainant‟s Contact
       Person. The names of Contact Persons in relation to particular matters should be

       Contact Persons should adopt similar approach with Respondents as for
       Complainants, i.e. they should:

                inform them who has already been informed of the complaint, and that a
                 record will be made of this conversation and passed on to the PSC, that they
                 may see a confidential counsellor, and that they have a right to say nothing
                 but it may be in their interests to co-operate;


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003

                create an environment in which they feel able to talk openly and without

                invite them to talk about their perception of the events in question;

                give them appropriate literature;

                advise them that it is unlawful to retaliate against, defame, or in any way
                 victimise a person in relation to the making of a personal abuse complaint, or
                 providing information, whether under the Protocol or elsewhere

        It is an educative rather than a directive role.

        Time needs to be taken to discuss:

        (a)    The Protocol procedures and the potential benefits of mediation/ conciliation, if
               it has been offered.

        (b)    The fact that there must be no recurrence of the offending behaviour and no
               reprisals for raising the concern.

        (c)    The confidential and voluntary nature of conciliation and the fact that
               information obtained or disclosed during mediation/conciliation cannot be used
               by either party in any other context.

        (e)     The implications of refusing mediation/conciliation.

        (f)     The complainant‟s right to refuse mediation/conciliation.

        (g)     Their own right to obtain personal counselling and how to obtain the service.

        (h)     The right of someone who thinks they have been harassed to lodge a complaint
                externally (e.g. Equal Opportunity Commissioner, police, child protection


SWAG Work in Progress Report Received by Standing Committee – March 2003