National Redress Scheme
At the Delegates’ Dinner on October 19, 2018 it was agreed that the Baptist Union of Victoria, together with participating churches, faith communities, missional communities and defunct churches would join the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) as a `participating group’, with the BUV being the `representative’ of the group. The Scheme is for people who have experienced child sexual abuse in institutions, including churches.
A paper detailing the operation of the BUV Group within the Scheme was sent to churches and the POLICY related to that can be accessed below.National Redress Scheme Policy
Under the Scheme’s legislation, each member of a participating group must declare its agreement to participate in the group and with the group’s nominated representative. (Email to email@example.com.) The Declaration must be signed by a person authorized to do so on behalf of the local church, with the approval of the appropriate governance process in your church (e.g. Members’ Meeting or Church Council resolution).National Redress Declaration and Information
Organisations have until June 30, 2020 to opt into the Scheme. After that date, no further organisations will be accepted into the Scheme. The Redress Scheme operator has advised that the process of joining and declaration made by the Minister may take up to 4-6weeks, so churches will need to decide prior to March/April 2020 in order to be declared on time by June 2020. Those who join the group after it is established will have to wait 12 months after joining to access the Redress Support Fund.
Union Council strongly encourages all BUV churches to join the Scheme because:
- The Scheme accords with Biblical values of mercy and justice in that it provides a compassionate and fair process for people who have been abused to seek redress. It is less traumatic, complex and costly for all concerned than the alternative of engaging in the often adversarial legal system.
- Participation in the Scheme indicates a public willingness to take accounts of abuse seriously and to respond in love to those who have been abused.
- The Scheme provides for restitution and apology, which Christians understand to be important in responding to our wrongdoing.
- The payment of redress represents a willingness to take moral responsibility for abuse within our churches.
- The Scheme provides objective and independent assessment of abuse and enable a consistent response, removing the need for negotiation on a case-by-case basis.
The Declaration includes an expression of the church’s willingness for a Direct Personal Response (apology) to be presented to those who are offered redress. Trained staff within the BUV Office will take responsibility for this, in negotiation with the Scheme and consultation with the church.
The Declaration also includes a commitment by the church to pay any Redress debt it becomes liable for, with support from the BUV Redress Support Fund, as set out in the policy referred to above. As part of opting in to the BUV Group, churches make an annual contribution to this Fund. The contribution is $400 + 0.01% of the church’s insured asset value.
If your church has yet to join the Redress Scheme and wish to do so, please complete the Declaration below and return it to the BUV Office by March/April 2020.National Redress Declaration and Information
Please contact David.firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions about the Scheme.