Church urged to dictate abuse procedures

Sydney, Australia -- The Anglican church is being urged to adopt a uniform set of standards to deal with abuse, rather than leave it to individual bishops in their diocese.

The Anglican Diocese of Adelaide has vowed to act on a report it commissioned into abuse and violence within the church.

The report highlighted an entrenched culture of hostility towards women.

Wayne Chamley, an advocate for church abuse victims, says people who have suffered abuse in the Anglican church need to be reassured that their complaints will be dealt with in a consistent and fair manner.

"A problem for them at the moment is the Anglican church appears not to have a uniform process for responding and this comes about because the individual bishops in the diocese are autonomous," he said.

A solicitor representing child victims of sexual abuse in the Anglican church says it will take some time for the church to address its poor treatment of women.

Solicitor Sue Litchfield says some women who were abused by church members up to 40 years ago continue to suffer.

"In trying to raise the issue with the church, they have become victims again because the church has not believed their stories or have chosen to ignore their pleas to help," she said.

The church says it is committed to undergoing a culture change to ensure that all of its members feel safe.