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Destiny Rescue

This is a review[1] in the series ‘Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Members.’ ACFID ‘is the peak body for Australian non-government organisations (NGOs) involved in international development and humanitarian action.’ It requires Members to adhere to a Code of Conduct.


‘Destiny Rescue Australia’ is one such Member (a ‘Full Member’)[2].


The name in the ACFID membership list links to a website for ‘Destiny Rescue.’ Here they seek donations from the public.




The charity regulator, the ACNC, in their articleDonating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:


1. Check the charity’s name.

2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.

3. Be careful of online requests for donations.

4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one, and

5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.


Here’s the results for ‘Destiny Rescue Australia’, with consideration also given to the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3]


Question 1


A search on the ACNC Register for ‘Destiny Rescue Australia’ gives a Nil result. Dropping ‘Australia’ gives three charities:


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The footer on the Destiny Rescue website above shows that it is the first one, Destiny Rescue Limited (Destiny Rescue Australia)[4].


The Register entry for Destiny Rescue still says that it is part of Destiny Rescue_ACNC_Group.[5] But there is no longer any such Group.


Destiny Rescue’s comment:


“We do not understand why the ACNC is still saying we are part of the ‘Group’ entity except that potentially they still include our change of legal entity a number of years ago so it gives a historic perspective of the organisation. You will note that the registeration of the group is voluntarily revoked, and we have seen no reason to spend time challenging the ACNC on this technical issue of how they manage their website as it is easy to find our legal entity Destiny Rescue Limited.”


Reviewer’s response:

We’re just pointing out to you, the donor (and others) that, despite what the Register says when you arrive at Destiny Rescue’s page, Destiny Rescue is not a member of a Group. And to you, Destiny Rescue, that it is potentially confusing, and misleading, for the potential donor, when they arrive at your (easily found) entry to be told that you are a member of a Group.


Question 2


There is nothing to indicate that Destiny Rescue Australia uses either door-to-door or street collectors. (They have a guide if you want to fundraise for them.)


Destiny Rescue’s comment:


“Destiny Rescue does not use either door-to-door or street collectors.”


Question 3


The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].


But there is still nothing about the security of your information on the giving pages[6].


Destiny Rescue’s comment:

“Our Privacy Collection Statement is linked from the website here https://www.destinyrescue.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/12/51646470_4-Privacy-collection-statement-Destiny-Rescue.DOCX_.pdf

Our Privacy Policy is linked from the website here https://www.destinyrescue.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/12/Privacy-Policy-v1.2-FINAL.pdf


Reviewer’s response:

Neither of these documents are mentioned on the giving pages. Many charities understand the caution of donors in giving personal information, particularly credit card detail, so they have a reassurance of safety at or near the beginning of the process. Here’s GDG’s as an example:

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World Vision has a FAQ on the first page. A common approach is to include the see the hyperlinked logo of the security provider, with or without a brief comment.


Question 4


Destiny Rescue Australia’s ABN record (via the ACNC Register) shows that your donation will entitle you to a tax deduction.


But there is still nothing about this on the donation pages.


Destiny Rescue’s comment:

“There is messaging on our website showing that people receive a tax deduction for donations over $2”


Reviewer’s response:

Most charities realise that, to avoid the donor having to search the website for the information, it is helpful to present as part of the information on each giving option.


Question 5 How is your donation used?


From the income statement (Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income, Financial Report 2021):


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The largest item ‘Project expenses’ is not, contrary to the impression given by Destiny Rescue Australia’s website, or its Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2021 [ACNC Register][7], spent rescuing at risk children. Instead, it is a fundraiser. So, this 43% of the total expenses (39% last year) was sent overseas to ‘Destiny Rescue International’ and at least five other unidentified organisations that presumably do rescue at risk children [Note 5, Notes to the Financial Statements]:


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In contrast to this 43%, their ‘financial integrity’ page on the website says that 81% is ‘used for programs that benefit the children we defend’:


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No support is given for this figure, nor is any reconciliation provided for these two wildly different figures (43% versus 81%) for what appears to be the same thing.


There is no functional classification of the expenses in the income statement (either in the Financial Report nor the Annual Report)[8], so we can’t see how they calculated these figures. So, we can’t attempt a reconciliation between the 43% and the 81% ourselves.


The remaining 57% on the income statement (see above) stays in Australia. It is the cost of doing what Destiny Rescue Australia is about – raising funds.


Of this $2.34 million, 74% ($1.73 million), goes to paying 25 employees [AIS 2021].


Destiny Rescue’s comment:


“Destiny Rescue’s mission is to rescue children from sexual exploitation and human trafficking and help them stay free. We do this in several ways, from rescuing children out of their captivity, to helping restore them to freedom. We also work hard to raise awareness of the issue of Human Trafficking in Australia and stopping the demand side that is driven by people accessing children for abuse.

In Australia, we currently run a schools education program, where we are trying to change the mindset of a younger generation toward the way they treat children and challenge a mindset from developing whereby it can seem normal to abuse children when travelling overseas.

We are also working with a number of ASX listed companies, rotary clubs, and other businesses who have a large number of FIFO workers who regularly travel to Southeast Asia for sex tourism.

In the past 18 months, we have been in discussions with the Australian Federal Government to conduct an ethical tourism campaign, as one initiative our of many opportunities, to challenge the way Australian’s travel and to reduce the demand of children being abused when Australian’s travel overseas. Pre COVID-19, it was estimated that over 200,000 Australian men travel to Thailand each year for child sex tourism. We want to put an end to this, and a lot of our work in Australia is aiming to raise awareness of the issue of child sex exploitation and human trafficking so we can stop the demand side of the issue.

The reason we do not list our partner organisations is because of security issues in several countries that we operate in. We regularly come up against criminal gangs and organised crime and need to fly under the radar in many nations to enable the work that we do. Where required, and for audit purposes, we disclose who these organisations are, but we do not make this information publicly available because it would compromise the safety of our operations overseas.

There are also a number of employess that belong to our International Team that are currently resident in Australia due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions. For tax reasons, they are required to be paid by Destiny Rescue Limited (Australia) even though they are employees of Destiny Rescue International (which is a USA Registered organisation).”


Reviewer’s response:

No explanation of the 43% versus 81% claim.


Sharing the Gospel[9]


Destiny Rescue Australia, no. Overseas: these reports (here and here) would suggest that they do.


Destination of the money sent


The largest distribution, 57% of the total, was to ‘Destiny Rescue International’ (see above). Note 19 explains who this is:


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Note that some of the money is not for ‘group IT and HR support services.’


No destination organisation is given for any of the other money sent overseas.


The Financial Report 2021 does not disclose how Destiny Rescue Australia ensures that the money sent overseas (a) reaches the intended recipient, and (b) is used for the purpose(s) for which it was given.


Destiny Rescue’s comment:


“As Destiny Rescue is a Christian Organisation we are banned from operating in certain countries – by sending funds to Destiny Rescue International Inc. then through intermediaries in the country concerned we can still carry out our rescues and not be arrested or deported. In other countries, we operate as Destiny Rescue (then Country name, Destiny Rescue Thailand for example) and we send funds from our account directly to the country concerned (as listed on financial reports) – they, in turn, have to furnish financial reports in the countries they are in and the send back a reconciliation of how funds were expensed both to us and Destiny Rescue International Inc., as noted above.”


‘The ‘responsible people’ (directors)


These are the people who agreed to the Financial Report 2021 (from the Directors’ Report):


Tony Kirwan

Lachlan Anderson

Joshua Evans

Chris Lawley

James Condon


The website shows that Melinda Bryant has joined the board since. The ACNC Register, however, omits her, and (still) incorrectly includes William Allan.


Destiny Rescue’s comment:


“We have lodged paperwork with the ACNC to list Melinda Bryant as a director.”


Reviewer’s response:

For the next time (and others reading), you can change the names yourself.


The directors are responsible to the members. This is either 10 (Director’s Report), or one (Note 16). Destiny Rescue International, Inc, no doubt a member (or perhaps the only member), can reserve some powers to itself (the constitution)[10]:




Everything Destiny Rescue Australia is doing may be being done ‘properly’[11], but unless the money is being used effectively (i.e., has an impact[12]), the money would be better used elsewhere. And the same applies if the impact is less than is being achieved by another charity doing the same thing.


Nothing systematic on impact found.


Neither impact, in the sense above, or evaluation, is mentioned in the annual report[13].


Charity response


Contrary to the ACFID Code, Destiny Rescue does not invite feedback. And its Complaints Policy still leads to a 404 error.


Destiny Rescue’s comment:


“Destiny Rescue does invite feedback, on our ‘contact us’ page people are able to access our phone number, postal address, email and also a general enquiry and complaints form is included. https://www.destinyrescue.org.au/contact/


Reviewer’s response:

Neither the provision merely of contact information, or ‘General enquiry’ and ‘Complaints form’ boxes, is ‘inviting feedback.’ This is because feedback can be quite different from an ‘enquiry’ and a ‘complaint.’ The distinction is recognised by the ACFID, and often recognised in an organisation’s policy document.


We sent them a draft of this review. We had a call with the CEO, then the CFO sent their comments. We added the reviewer’s comments and returned it to them with an invitation to comment. We didn’t hear from them after that.




  1. See here for the previous review.
  2. A picture containing letter Description automatically generated
  3. A section in the articleDonating and Volunteering: • Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.• Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?• Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?• Is the charity being transparent about its activities?
  4. Destiny Rescue Australia has ‘Destiny Rescue’ – for instance, the website – registered as a business name, but not ‘Destiny Rescue Australia’.
  5. https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/charities/6521f405-3aaf-e811-a961-000d3ad24182/profile. Accessed 29.11.2022.
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  7. This is their only program:Graphical user interface, text, application, email Description automatically generated
  8. Destiny Rescue Australia are therefore non-compliant with the AICD Code of Conduct.
  9. ‘When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett says this about sharing the Gospel: ‘A host of contextual issues determine the best manner and the appropriate time to present the gospel verbally, particularly in militant Muslim or Hindu settings. But without such a presentation, it is not possible for people to be personally transformed in all their relationships, which is what poverty alleviation is all about” [Kindle Locations 1262-1264, Moody Publishers]. 
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  11. The behaviour of its people, its use of money, and how it goes about its business.
  12. The ACNC has previously – the Fact Sheet is no longer on the site – explained impact this way: “Every charity has a mission that is associated with producing a public benefit. As this mission is pursued, the changes produced in individuals and their communities can be referred to as the charity’s ‘impact.’ If you are donating to a charity, you may wish to make sure that your donation is creating the greatest impact possible.’ There is no reason this wouldn’t still be their view. 
  13. This line was added after Destiny Rescue saw the draft.