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.
The University of Divinity has ten goals in its Strategic Plan through to 2025.
The Strategic Goal, Changing Culture: Responding to the Royal Commission, is:
To resource the churches and religious orders and Australian community to make effective and comprehensive responses to the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
A range of actions and projects are being undertaken as part of the Goal, following the appointment 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.”
Higher Education Recommendations
Several of the Royal Commission’s Recommendations directly concern the higher education sector:
6.2 (f) advises introducing or enhancing child sexual abuse prevention education in all tertiary qualifications associated with child-related occupations.
6.21 (a) advises introducing or enhancing child online protection education in all tertiary qualifications associated with child-related occupations.
The University will present initiatives in these areas in 2020.
National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
In December 2019, the University Council 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.
Its resources provide guidance on key actions and performance measures in implementing the standards.
- National Principles for Child Safe Organisations
- National Principles for Child Safe Organisations – UD Summary
- National Principles Poster
Online learning modules and other resources are provided free by the National Office for Child Safety including some in a range of other languages
The University Council at its December meeting received the 2019 summary report on the University’s responses to 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.