ANGLICAN priests "silenced, bullied or threatened" when they tried to report child sex abuse have received a public apology.
The annual Synod of the Diocese of Adelaide has endorsed a reporturging it to "acknowledge and apologise for the distress experienced bysome clergy who attempted to report abuse in the past and weresilenced, bullied or threatened".
The apology was among measures approved by Synod at the weekend tooverhaul the church's handling of child sex abuse allegations,including the adoption of a new code of conduct for priests, churchofficials and church workers.
The strategy - developed over 12 months by a special working party -included the introduction of mandatory reporting of child abuse tochurch and welfare authorities.
Archbishop Jeffrey Driver yesterday described the measures as "oneof the best models for best practice in professional conduct of anydiocese in Australia". "Synod has made some important decisions thisweekend, both in regard to our responsibility to survivors of sexualabuse and for the future ministry of the Anglican Church in the Dioceseof Adelaide," he said.
Archbishop Driver said he was pleased Synod had approved acomprehensive financial strategy to enable the church to paycompensation to child sex abuse victims, which already total $4.5million.
This included a 1 per cent levy on Adelaide parishes, the sale ofland at Bishop's Court, Archbishop Driver's official North Adelaideresidence, an internal fundraising appeal, a review of trust fundsoperated across the diocese and an appeal to other Anglican entities.
Archbishop Driver said he had "a personal commitment" to ensure thefinancial challenges were resolved during his term of office.
Synod also agreed to examine how the diocese could operate in "a less hierarchical manner".
A report commissioned by the church last year found its "old,male-dominated power structures are related to a lack of accountabilitywhen dealing with matters of child abuse and adult sexual abuse".