April 1, 2022
By Janice Biehn
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) recognizes the important role it has as a separately incorporated, arms-length agency of the Anglican Church of Canada.
PWRDF strives to prevent gender-based violence and to empower women and girls in all parts of the world. We stand in solidarity with survivors and seek to prevent sexual abuse and support victims.
At our spring meeting, the Board of Directors of PWRDF discussed the issues raised by three survivors of sexual abuse calling the church to account for a breach of confidentiality and mishandling of their allegations described on website #ACCtoo. The Primate, who is a Board Member, declared a conflict of interest. In camera, we listened with deep sorrow to the pain and trauma caused by the actions of clergy and others of the church. Board members listened carefully and respectfully to each other’s words through a conversation that was difficult, heartfelt, concerned, and painful at times.
PWRDF aligns itself with the marginalized and exploited around the world, including all touched by the issues raised in the #ACCtoo open letter. PWRDF works to ensure through its own policies, procedures and guidelines that every effort is made to protect its staff and those with whom it works from sexual exploitation and abuse.
The Board of PWRDF strongly encourages General Synod and the Dioceses to review and strengthen policies and procedures that will ensure investigation, accountability and confidentiality in ways that protect and affirm survivors of sexual abuse and promote safe churches and workplaces.
The Board of PWRDF affirms the personal choice of all concerned individuals to sign onto the #ACCtoo letter including staff, Board members, and other volunteers.
The Board of PWRDF wishes to express its commitment to continual learning, growing, and sharing of best practices, as well as the need to accompany and work with partners to affirm and respect human rights, to seek justice and fairness, and to make environments in which we live and work safe for all.