Humanists Victoria and the ACT Humanist Society (ACTHS) have jointly released initial results from their survey of people’s preferences for the provision of non-religious support similar to what a chaplain would traditionally provide.

Using the professional services of Dynata, a representative sample of one thousand adult Australians were asked “Please imagine you were either in or visiting someone at a hospital, prison, or university and there was both a chaplaincy service and a non-religious pastoral support service available. If you felt unhappy, distressed or concerned, how likely or unlikely do you think you would be to access support from (a) – A chaplain or (b) – A non-religious pastoral support provider?” They were also asked “Do you identify as non-religious?” 

The results clearly showed that most non-religious people would much prefer to access a non-religious provider.

Interestingly, religious people are less likely to differentiate. Furthermore, over 60% of people agreed with the idea of employing non-religious pastoral support workers, and less that 20% disagreed.

With the number of non-religious people in Australia growing rapidly this survey shows there is definitely demand for non-religious pastoral support providers.

Social Health Australia, the spin-off from our Secular Spiritual Care Network project, has recently convened a national taskforce at the request of the Royal Australian Navy and in conjunction with other potential users, which will establish standards and a model for vetting the competencies of secular spiritual care practitioners.

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One Response to Chaplaincy Survey

  1. jefferson davis says:

    Great work to show the broad-based support in the school community for non-religious support.
    Unfortunately there are plenty of not so secular people high up the tree, they are very keen to direct (think of your own substitute word here) children as to what they should believe.
    Perhaps school boards need a broader base and to have more say.

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