Australia's Third Largest Denomination Has Paid Out 17m Dollars To Child Abuse Victims

Justice Peter McClellan, chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The scale of child abuse reports in one of Australia's largest Christian denominations has been made clear.

The Uniting Church has revealed details of every case of abuse it had dealt with in its 40-year history.

Formed in 1977, the Church says it has received 2,504 complaints of abuse in that time. It has paid out $17.5 million in compensation and been the subject of 255 civil court claims.

The information has been submitted to the Child Abuse Royal Commission which is investigating historic abuse in a number of large Australian institutions.

The Uniting Church currently has around a million members, 40,000 employees and 30,000 volunteers. It runs 64 schools and 179 community agencies. The Church was formed 40 years ago by the merger of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist denominations.

Uniting Church in Australia president Stuart McMillan issued an apology, saying, 'We are and I am deeply sorry that we didn't protect and care in accordance with our Christian values for those children.' He went on: 'I want to acknowledge the impact that it's had in the lives of those young people and to say I am truly sorry. Our commitment to you is we will seek to make amends and ensure that others don't suffer in the same way that you have.'

The commission has also recently heard evidence of how the Jehovahs Witnesses handled abuse claims. Other Christian institutions have also been investigated including the Salvation Army and the YMCA.