Dioceses lack 'robust' child protections

Rebekah Ison

Sydney's Anglican Archbishop has expressed his 'profound disappointment' at what he says are less than robust child protection systems in some of the country's dioceses.

Archbishop Glenn Davies told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse not all of the nation's 23 dioceses had implemented policies suggested by the church.

"I take it there are some (dioceses) that don't have robust systems?" counsel assisting Gail Furness SC asked him in Sydney on Wednesday.

"That would be true," Archbishop Davies replied.

The royal commission has previously heard a persistent culture of diocesan independence has hampered the nationwide implementation of a consistent Anglican misconduct regime.

Australia's most senior Anglican cleric, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, said he would be interested to know more about Archbishop Davies' concerns, adding that he thought all dioceses were committed to child protection.

"I think that at the level of child protection standards, we do have a very strong common core," he said.

Six of the nation's most senior Anglican figures gave evidence on the last day of hearing, which was in part investigating the church's response to the royal commission's work.

Archbishop Davies issued a public apology to the mother of an abuse victim Wayne Guthrie, who died the month before he was supposed to give evidence at the royal commission about his abuse at the hands of Church of England Boys Society leader Simon Jacobs.

He said Mr Guthrie's case was "not acted upon appropriately, adequately or sensitively."

"My heartfelt apology to you Marion (Mr Guthrie's mother) and the loss of Wayne is a heavy burden for you and for us."

Data released on the first day of the hearing revealed 22 Anglican dioceses received 1115 reported complaints of child sexual abuse between 1980 and 2015.

General Secretary of the Church's General Synod Anne Hywood said the church could create a national entity to deal with the Commonwealth National Redress scheme, rather than all of its parts, including hundreds of schools and each diocese, acting alone.

She said each component would have to decide to join the group, saying it would be "unfortunate" if a victim didn't receive redress because their area had not opted in.

"If any component part of the Anglican Church stands aside from it (redress scheme) I'm not sure our society would approve," Chair Peter McClellan said.

"Indeed, I think our society would say very strong things to the contrary."

The royal commission conducted its first hearing into an Anglican institution in November 2013.

The four-day final hearing into the Anglican authorities finished up on Wednesday.