Church ‘deep regret’

Bishop wants victims of sexual abuse, at hands of clergy, to come forward

Bishop John Parkes

VICTIMS of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy should come forward, the leader of Wangaratta’s Anglican Church has urged.

Bishop John Parkes made the plea, while also expressing his “deepest regret” at the way the church has dealt with the issue in the past.

His comments come ahead of this weekend’s Synod, when representatives from the Wangaratta diocese, which extends throughout North East Victoria and into southern NSW, come together to discuss challenges and opportunities for the church.

“The message from me is one of deepest regret for the failings of the church in the past,” Bishop Parkes said.

Bishop Parkes said church leaders and lay people would discuss the issue amid the backdrop of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Victorian Government’s parliamentary inquiry into child abuse.

“We’ll talk about how we’ve responded in terms of institutional protection,” he said.

“No part of the church hasn’t been touched by this.

“We have put in a whole series of checks and balances to ensure this never happens again.”

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