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Royal Commission Public Hearing

23 June 2014

As case studies 5 and 10 of the Royal Commission public hearings into The Salvation Army come to an end, The Salvation Army once again offers its deepest and sincerest apologies to survivors and their families failed by The Salvation Army.

“Many within The Salvation Army have been deeply shocked by allegations of abuse shared during the Royal Commission and the trauma this abuse inflicted on our most innocent. This trauma must never be allowed to happen again”, said Commissioner James Condon.

“I am deeply ashamed of the actions some people who worked for The Salvation Army committed against the most innocent and vulnerable in our care”, he said. “I feel deep remorse for every instance of sexual abuse, cruelty, verbal abuse, physical violence, and deprivation inflicted on children in our care. This abuse must never be allowed to happen again”.

Commissioner Condon said, “Our child protection processes in the past have failed those in our care, shattering lives and destroying the souls of the very people we were meant to protect. This failure of process must also never be allowed to happen again”.

“As Commissioner of The Salvation Army, I have zero tolerance for any form of child abuse perpetrated within The Salvation Army. For any instance of harm, no matter how long ago, we must say sorry. Our responsibilities to survivors lie not only now but also into the future”, he said.

The Salvation Army is working towards strengthening the child protection processes in place to protect children in its care. In addition to the Professional Standards Office and the work of independent investigators, The Salvation Army is committed to reviewing and strengthening its entire child protection policies and procedures.

These measures include specific steps to ensure ongoing accountability to improve our processes so children will never be placed in situations of harm again. The Salvation Army has made decisive decisions in recent days and have dismissed three officers, pending appeal following internal investigations, with another investigation currently ongoing into a fourth officer.

“The Salvation Army must continually review, revise and strengthen these processes, remaining vigilant; in order to ensure the protection of children remains our highest priority. We are committed to working with survivors in order for their healing process to begin. We are committed to asking survivors “What needs to happen to start making this right?” We are committed to restorative justice and the willingness to engage personally with those we have neglected”, said Commissioner Condon.

The Salvation Army will continue to work transparently with the Royal Commission into the future.

The Salvation Army encourages anyone who has suffered abuse to contact our Centre for Restoration on (02) 9266 9781 or at centreforrestoration@aue.salvationarmy.org

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The Salvation Army acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.

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