Safeguarding and Abuse

Abuse – Complaints: Resolution Process


  • If you have felt unsafe or victimised in a church or pastoral setting you have the right to speak out and be heard.
  • If your experience has been of a criminal action towards you or someone else please contact the police as soon as possible.
  • If your experience of someone you know is not of a criminal nature, then please contact a person with authority with whom you feel comfortable in laying a complaint
  • If you or a person representing you make your concerns known to church authorities they will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and respect and appropriate action will be taken.


  • The belief of the Christian community is that its membership are answerable to the highest standards of ethical behaviour, such as we see embodied in the person of Jesus Christ
  • All office-holders of the church, lay and ordained, are expected to strive for these standards
  • Where these are not met and vulnerable people are hurt, any involved in hurting others will be investigated and called to account
  • While face-to-face reconciliation is a possibility, in some cases it is recognized this will not always be acceptable to the victim/survivor of inappropriate standards


  • If you have a complaint or concern about the actions of a church office-bearer, you are welcome and encouraged to bring that matter to the attention of church authorities (or, as said above, other authorities if contact with church authorities is not considered safe or suitable)
  • If you feel that a minister, trustee or office holder has breached a standard, then you should follow these three steps:
  1. Raise the matter with the minister, trustee or office holder (if you consider that can be done safely)
  2. (If that does not resolve the matter) Raise the matter with a person to whom he or she reports or to whom they are accountable (this could be the Churchwardens, Priest in Charge, Vicar, Archdeacon or Bishop)
  3. Contact the Diocesan Office for advice on what you need to do: Telephone (03) 488 0821 or email


Reach out for some help. Talk with someone you trust, see a doctor or counsellor, or call 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Useful Links

Title D of Standards: These are the rules of the Anglican Church in NZ-Aotearoa and Polynesia that set out how complaints are dealt with


Diocese of Dunedin Guidelines

The Diocese of Dunedin operates a system where all people (lay and ordained) who carry our ministry in the name of the church must hold a license from the Bishop. The issuing of a license includes police vetting and evidence that a person has participated in regular training events (Boundary Workshops) that include a safeguarding component. Please contact our Diocesan Ministry Educator for more information. 

 Royal Commission on Abuse in Care

The Commission’s Website says: 

“The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care is looking into what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care     between 1950 and 1999.”

The focus of the Commission is on ‘Abuse in Care’ with reference to:

  1. State-run institutions
  2. Faith-based institutions

The extent of (2) includes our care of children, young people and vulnerable adults in our churches, schools, orphanages, elder care homes, and other ministries governed and managed by Anglican based Social Services (including residential care homes for the elderly) and Anglican Family Care.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, including the Diocese of Dunedin, is committed to engaging with the Commission and its work, and will do everything it can to assist the Commission fulfilling its purposes.  The Diocese of Dunedin is encouraging submissions to be made to the Commission by survivors of abuse in its care. Contact details for communicating with the Commission are:

Phone: 10 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday (NZT) 0800 222 727 [Calling from Australia? 1800 875 745]


Mail: Royal Commission of Inquiry, PO Box 10071
The Terrace, Wellington 6143

See also Royal Commission on Abuse in Care: 

Current Commission hearings are now being broadcast via this link:  

Bishop Steven Benford writes:

If this raises issues that affect you directly, I am happy to meet with you. Please contact me through the Diocesan office: