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Monday, 27 September 2004

The "Forgotten Australians" Report

The Uniting Church today expressed regret and sorrow to the children who suffered neglect and abuse while in institutional care provided by the Uniting Church and its agencies during the last century.

"On behalf of the Uniting Church and our agencies, I apologise unreservedly for any physical, psychological or social harm that might have occurred," National President, Rev. Dr Dean Drayton said.

“I deeply regret that some children were let down while in the care of the Uniting Church and former Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches.”

Rev. Drayton said the recent Senate Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care highlighted a number of cases where children suffered at the hands of caregivers.

“The Inquiry painted a disturbing picture of life for many young people who lived in institutional care. The Uniting Church through its agencies managed a number of these facilities and sadly, some did not provide the love, nurturing and care that the children in them so rightly deserved.

“The Inquiry highlighted the flaws in institutional care models and the need to ensure they are never repeated,” Rev. Drayton said.

“The Uniting Church, through our family and community services networks, has developed new models for providing care and services to children. The Church is committed to ensuring that children and families receive the best facilities and care possible and we are constantly working to improve them.

“The Senate Inquiry reminds everybody involved in delivering services and care to children that we all need to work together so that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

“The Uniting Church welcomes the Inquiry and its recommendations – they provide a basis on which Governments at all levels and care providers may move forward together by acknowledging past wrongs and addressing them appropriately. We are committed to working with government to respond to the issues raised during the Inquiry,” Rev. Drayton said.

This statement was endorsed by the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia and the Moderators of the Synods of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Synod.

Rev. Allan Kuchler Mr. Jim Mein Rev. George Woodward
Moderator of Queensland Moderator of NSW Moderator of the Northern Synod

Rev. Dr Graham Humphris Rev. Sue Gormann Rev. Gemmel Sherwood
Moderator of South Australia Moderator of Victoria and Tasmania Moderator of Western Australia

Media contact: Gavin Melvin, Senior Communication Officer, 0417 416 674