The University of Divinity acknowledges the hurt and suffering of victims and survivors of abuse, and their families; the failure of the churches to protect, believe and respond justly to them; and the consequent breach of community trust.
The University commits itself to preparing its graduates to have the skills, confidence and knowledge to serve effectively and safely, especially with the young or vulnerable.
Strategic Plan 2025
The University of Divinity developed the Strategic Goal Responding to the Royal Commission in 2018 after the release of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and following the Health and Integrity in Church and Ministry Conference presented by the University of Divinity in 2018.
Adopted as a Strategic Goal in 2019, and since 2020 named Changing Culture: Responding to the Royal Commission, this Strategic Goal is now one of four University-wide Goals in the Strategic Plan 2025.
The University’s Goal Changing Culture: Responding to the Royal Commission, aims that by 2025 there has been significant change in culture and practice in the churches towards health and integrity.
A range of actions and projects are being undertaken as part of the Goal, following the appointment in 2019 of a part-time Project Officer who is based at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.
Code of Conduct and Safeguarding Policy
The University of Divinity has established a new Code of Conduct and Safeguarding Policy, in effect from 1 January 2020. These have been developed in response to the Recommendations of the Royal Commission.
The Code of Conduct and its accompanying Policies, including the Safeguarding Policy, apply to all members of the University “while on University or College premises, using University or College facilities and services, or engaging in University or College activities related to their duties or responsibilities as a member of the University of Divinity.”
The University has developed two new awards: Graduate Certificate in Professional Supervision and Graduate Diploma in Professional Supervision. These awards are offered by the University, having commenced in 2021.
The awards offer knowledge and training for women and men who wish to become Professional Supervisors. Professional Supervisors increasingly work in the helping professions in a wide range of areas: ministry, chaplaincy, health, education, leadership, inter-cultural contexts.
These awards have been developed in direct response to Recommendation 16.45 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, “Each religious institution should ensure that all people in religious or pastoral ministry, including religious leaders, have professional supervision with a trained professional or pastoral supervisor who has a degree of independence from the institution within which the person is in ministry.”
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
The Council of the University of Divinity has formally adopted the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
These Principles directly reflect and give effect to the child safe standards recommended by the Royal Commission and provide a nationally consistent approach to cultivating organisational cultures and practices that foster child safety and wellbeing across all sectors in Australia.
The Principles together with supporting resources have been developed by the National Office for Child Safety, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which is supporting the Royal Commission Recommendations.
- The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to the Child Sexual Abuse homepage
- The Final Report of the Royal Commission (December 2017)
A listing of other resources including books, articles, documents and websites, is available on the Library Hub (Guides/Subject Guides/Royal Commission). This will be regularly updated.