Royal Commission

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse 

Commencing 9 December 2013, The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse examines the Catholic Church’s protocols for addressing sexual abuse within the Church, Towards Healing.

A Statement issued by the Truth Justice and Healing Council, and endorsed by Church leaders across Australia, acknowledges the damage sexual abuse has done, past failings including cover-ups and the failures of leadership and not believing victims. This Statement also provides a commitment to work towards repairing past wrongs, listening to and hearing victims, putting victims’ needs first, and doing everything possible to ensure a safer future for children.

Statement of Commitment

The Catholic Church in Australia, in its submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and in its communications with both the Catholic and broader communities has made the following commitment:

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia recognise and acknowledge the devastating harm caused to people by the crime of child sexual abuse. We take this opportunity to state:

1 Sexual abuse of a child by a priest or religious is a crime under Australian law and under canon law.
2 Sexual abuse of a child by any Church personnel, whenever it occurred, was then and is now indefensible.
3 That such abuse has occurred at all, and the extent to which it has occurred, are facts of which the whole Church in Australia is deeply ashamed.
4 The Church fully and unreservedly acknowledges the devastating, deep and ongoing impact of sexual abuse on the lives of the victims and their families.
5 The Church acknowledges that many victims were not believed when they should have been.
6 The Church is also ashamed to acknowledge that, in some cases, those in positions of authority concealed or covered up what they knew of the facts, moved perpetrators to another place, thereby enabling them to offend again, or failed to report matters to the police when they should have. That behaviour too is indefensible.
7 Too often in the past it is clear some Church leaders gave too high a priority to protecting the reputation of the Church, its priests, religious and other personnel, over the protection of children and their families, and over compassion and concern for those who suffered at the hands of Church personnel. That too was and is inexcusable.
8 In such ways, Church leaders betrayed the trust of their own people and the expectations of the wider community.
9 For all these things the Church is deeply sorry. It apologises to all those who have been harmed and betrayed. It humbly asks for forgiveness.

The leaders of the Catholic Church in Australia commit ourselves to endeavour to repair the wrongs of the past, to listen to and hear victims, to put their needs first, and to do everything we can to ensure a safer future for children.

First published in the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s Towards Healing submission to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, September 2013. 

The Diocese of Broken Bay and the Royal Commission

The Diocese of Broken Bay welcomes the Royal Commission. It is an opportunity for those who have suffered to obtain a compassionate hearing, justice and further healing.

It is also an opportunity for the Church’s processes to be scrutinised with greater objectivity. This will allow further refinements that seek justice and pastoral care.

The Truth, Justice and Healing Council is coordinating the Catholic Church's response to the Royal Commission with a commitment to cooperation, openness, full disclosure and justice for victims and survivors. 

 

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001
news@dbb.org.au

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