The last several months has been a time of deep reflection and introspection for us. The feedback we have received has been challenging at times but, nevertheless, necessary for us to hear as we try and move forward.
Over the years, over 11,000 people, with diverse backgrounds, life experiences and stages in their journey with God, have come to YWAM Perth. We value each and every individual. We are grieved that anyone would experience anything less than the love of God that we have tried to abide by at YWAM Perth.
With the benefit of the range of feedback we have since received and upon full consideration of all of that feedback, we accept that our admission of Jarryd Hayne into our campus at the time, and the way it was done, lacked insight and a full appreciation of the consequences of that decision.
Although there have been no complaints about his behaviour while with us at the DTS, his presence had the potential to cause distress to some of those present.
For that we are very sorry.
Through careful internal review and ongoing external input, we are revising, updating and expanding our current policies and procedures, including in relation to bullying, harassment and reporting of sexual assaults (historical or otherwise) as well in ensuring better decision-making concerning the admission of persons to the DTS and our other programmes.
In relation to the latter, we will not admit any person into our campus who has outstanding charges for a serious criminal offence (including sexual assaults and domestic violence).
These policies and procedures will be implemented through additional training for leaders, staff and volunteers. They will also be introduced to the students during the orientation phase of their training. Again, we wish to say that we are very grateful to all those who have provided us with detailed feedback, including those who expressed support and prayer for us to do better. We recognise that, although we did our best to receive and respond to feedback, while also seeking to address a myriad of other associated issues and continuing with our mission, our communication at times may have appeared to be impersonal or lacked compassion.
For that we are very sorry.
We continue to explore and develop ways for every person to freely engage with all levels of YWAM Perth’s leadership. This includes more structured procedures and policies concerning appeals against decisions and in addressing grievances raised. These steps will be implemented through additional training for leaders, staff and volunteers. Students will also be informed of these available procedures and policies.
Although our awareness of caring for mental health needs has grown over the years, we recognise that there are, nevertheless, areas of further improvement. We are in the process of identifying and engaging a suitable mental health services provider to deliver regular training for our leaders, staff, and volunteers. That training will be invaluable in enabling us to identify when a referral to an external mental health professional ought to be made to ensure the best support is given related to a student’s health and wellbeing.
It is never easy when confronted by our shortcomings.
However, we believe, as we embrace the ways of God, we will grow and encourage waves of young people in their journey of faith and service in the nations.
Thank you for your patience and in continuing to place your trust in us during this time.
There will be more updates as we work towards improving YWAM Perth and its care of its staff, volunteers and students.
Peter and Shirley Brownhill
on behalf of the core leaders team
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