Australia ‘Failed’ Abused Children for Decades, Royal Commission Finds

“the idea will be not a case of a few rotten apples,” the report said. “Society’s major institutions have seriously failed. In many cases those failings have been exacerbated by a manifestly inadequate response to the abused person. The problems have been so widespread, as well as also the nature of the abuse so heinous, of which the idea will be difficult to comprehend.”

Australia created the commission in 2012 to investigate decades of sexual abuse in religious institutions, schools as well as also various other establishments — the only country within the earth so far to initiate such a sweeping government-led inquiry. More than 4,000 institutions have been implicated in abuse allegations, the commission found.

Australian government investigators identified 4,444 victims of abuse as well as also at least 1,880 suspected abusers via 1980 to 2015. Most of those suspected of abuse were Catholic priests as well as also religious brothers. The report released Friday said 62 percent of the survivors who told the commission they were abused in religious institutions were abused in a Catholic facility.

Responding to the findings, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne offered “our unconditional apology due to This particular suffering as well as also a commitment to ensuring justice for those affected.”

He said many of the panel’s recommendations could have a significant impact on the way the Catholic Church operates in Australia.

“Central to This particular Royal Commission will be the painful truth of which so many children were abused, trust was destroyed as well as also innocence lost,” the archbishop said. “They are sons as well as also daughters, brothers as well as also sisters — This particular should never have happened. As a bishop I express my deepest sorrow.”

The inquiry, which cost the Australian government 373 million Australian dollars, or $286 million, was unmatched in its scope in examining a scandal of which has shaken the Roman Catholic hierarchy worldwide.


Advocates on Friday outside Government House in Canberra.

Lukas Coch/European Pressphoto Agency

“Our inquiry revealed numerous cases where leaders of religious institutions knew about allegations of child sexual abuse although failed to take effective action, often with catastrophic consequences for children,” the report said.

The most damaging revelations about child sexual abuse have centered on scandals in towns like Ballarat, the hometown of Cardinal George Pell, who This particular year became the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate to be formally charged with sexual offenses.

In Ballarat, a police officer investigated a pedophile ring at local Catholic schools as well as also said up to 30 victims had since committed suicide.

The charges brought in June against Cardinal Pell, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, followed years of criticism of which he had at best overlooked, as well as also at worst covered up, the widespread abuse of children by clergymen in Australia.

In addition to calling for the establishment of a National Office for Child Safety, the commission urged passage of laws of which penalize those who fail to alert the police if they suspect an adult “was sexually abusing or had sexually abused a child.”

Delving into sensitive territory for the Catholic Church, the report recommended of which clergy be required to report suspected abuse of which they hear within the confessional booth. Church officials, however, argue of which confidentiality will be integral to the ritual, as well as also Archbishop Hart took issue with the proposal.

“I could feel terribly conflicted, as well as also I could try even harder to get of which person outside confessional, although I cannot break the seal,” he said, referring to the seal of absolute secrecy around what’s said within the confessional. “The penalty for any priest breaking the seal will be excommunication, being cast out of the church, so the idea’s a real, serious, spiritual matter,” he added.

The panel also recommended of which the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference pressure the church’s leadership in Rome to “consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy,” saying of which mandatory celibacy for priests contributed to child abuse.

On of which front, Archbishop Hart said, “I certainly will see of which the bishops pass on of which recommendation to the Holy See as well as also they will then decide.” although he added, “I believe of which there are real values in celibacy.”

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who had called for the establishment of the royal commission, said of which previous efforts to conduct such an inquiry faced resistance, despite efforts by whistle-blowers to expose the abuses.

“Increasingly as more as well as also more survivors came forward, the question became, how do we respond to This particular?” she said. “There were quite a few factors to consider of which troubled me quite deeply.”

She said Australians have been shocked not only by the range of the abuse of which has been brought to light, although the systematic nature of the cover-ups.

“the idea has already changed the nation,” Ms. Gillard said. “Never again can we be naïve about the depth as well as also breadth of This particular problem.”

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