The Anglican Diocese of Grafton is one of the 23 Dioceses which constitute the Anglican Church of Australia (formerly the Church of England). It was created in 1868 as the Anglican Diocese of Grafton and Armidale but became its own diocese in 1914.
The Anglican Diocese of Grafton covers the coastal area south of the New South Wales-Queensland border known as the Northern Rivers Region and inland. Grafton is the Cathedral city. Other major centres are Lismore, Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.
On 17 May 2013 the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton resigned, citing his failure to apply professional standards or appropriate pastoral care to his investigation and management of claims of abuse that occurred at the North Coast Children's Home from the 1940s to the 1980s. His resignation was triggered by an audit of all 'Professional Standards matters' (that is, abuse claims) in the Grafton Diocese, which identified failings in his handling of such claims.
In his statement the Bishop admitted that abuse had occurred at the North Coast Children's Home over this period and was perpetrated by former staff members, visiting clergy, host families and other residents. Although he had paid compensation to some victims of abuse in 2007, he had been unsure whether the Anglican Diocese of Grafton was legally liable for the abuse at the North Coast Children's Home. The Bishop admitted he had dealt poorly with claims made from 2008-2011 and had not applied the Anglican Church's Professional Standards Protocol to these cases. This meant some cases were not referred to police. He had also turned away claimants and denied them compensation. The Bishop has apologised to survivors of the abuse for his failings of pastoral care and stated that all matters had now been referred to the Anglican Church's Professional Standards Unit.
On 21 May 2013 The Daily Telegraph reported that the resignation of the Bishop of Grafton had taken place after personal intervention by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Anglican Bishop of Grafton quits over 'failings' in child abuse complaints', The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 2013, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/anglican-bishop-of-grafton-quits-over-failings-in-child-abuse-complaints-20130518-2jsx4.html#ixzz2Tu97En00; Fife-Yeomans, Janet, 'Archbishop's intervention led to fall of Bishop', The Daily Telegraph, 21 May 2013, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/archive/news/archbishops-intervention-led-to-fall-of-bishop/news-story/40f2a06f09a2fcbe5a6442bf17792f86; Keavney, Kay, 'Home's where you go when you need somebody', Australian Women's Weekly, 23 June 1976, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51188148; McCarthy, 'Bishop ignored child sex charges', Newcastle Herald, 8 November 2013, http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1896434/bishop-ignored-child-sex-charges/.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 21 May 2013, Last modified: 7 November 2017