The High Court decision handed down last week clears the way for the full release of unpublished findings from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which referred to Cardinal Pell.
Although the Royal Commission published its final report in 2019 the sections of the report detailing its findings in relation to Cardinal Pell and his evidence were heavily redacted.
The Royal Commission heard evidence from Cardinal Pell from Rome about what he may have known about paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and the offending of other priests that were being investigated by the Royal Commission.
The provision of financial redress for victims and survivors of abuse is never easy and there is no system which is satisfactory to all. In a series of blogs to be published this week, we consider the latest schemes and update on how they are progressing.
A rally for survivors and their supporters took place in Melbourne on Sunday the 31 March 2019, amid calls for the National Redress Scheme (the scheme) to be changed.
On the 19 June the Australian Parliament passed legislation to establish the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, ensuring the scheme can begin on 1 July 2018. Continue reading
In the week that saw Dr Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University and Olympic sports doctor sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing female gymnasts in the USA, it is timely to reflect on Volume 14 of the report of the Royal Commission (RC) which focuses on sports and recreational institutions.
The RC identified that there is a real challenge in ensuring child safety in sports and recreational institutions and this is due to the diverse nature of the sector – ranging from affiliated, grant maintained and well-funded, co-ordinated, well-regulated and managed institutions with compliance obligations to small informal not for profit voluntary and community groups and activities where there is a patent lack of policy, procedure, regulation and information.
Volume 16 of the Royal Commission’s (RC) final report focuses on religious organisations. It runs to 3 books, longer than any other volume in the report, and contains 58 recommendations. 7382 survivors (48.8% of those who contacted the RC) reported abuse, in 1691 religious institutions. This was more than in connection with any other type of organisation. There were 30 case studies which, amongst other issues, revealed that many religious leaders knew about allegations of abuse but failed to take any action. The failures of religious organisations are considered to be particularly troubling as a result of the significant part religion has played in the lives of many children. Many survivors reported that as a result of the abuse they had suffered a loss of faith as well as a loss of trust.
Identifying child sexual abuse especially in an institutional setting is the first and often most important step in protecting children and preventing its re-occurrence.
It is not sufficient just to educate children to recognise behaviours that constitute sexual abuse, and instruct them to tell someone if they are abused. Instead, adults also need to be attuned to signs of harm in children and equipped to identify signs of possible sexual abuse. Adults and the wider community need to better understand the dynamics of sexual abuse and how to recognise grooming tactics, and to notice emotional and behavioural changes in children.
Volume 3 of the final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the RC) considers and explains the impacts of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts on survivors and often on their family members, friends, and entire communities.
The impacts of child sexual abuse are different for each survivor, for many it can have deep rooted and lasting impacts while others do not feel that they have been profoundly harmed by the experience.