Report by the Hon Antony Whitlam QC released
The Catholic Bishops of Armidale and Parramatta have made available the report from former Federal Court judge, the Hon Antony Whitlam QC, who was commissioned by the dioceses to conduct an independent inquiry into processes related to the management of a former priest following allegations he had committed acts of child sexual abuse.
The Bishop of Armidale, Most Rev Michael Kennedy, and the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, accept the findings of the report.
Mr Whitlam’s report comments on deficient record-keeping, lack of or ineffective assessments and inefficient inquiries. However, he also comments that had current procedures for reporting child abuse by the Catholic Church and protocols regarding the transfer of priests been in force, the former priest “F” would have been “stopped in his tracks”.
In July last year, the Bishops commissioned Mr Whitlam to conduct the inquiry and both dioceses provided him with full access to diocesan records and he was encouraged to interview anyone he deemed relevant to the inquiry. As soon as the Bishops received Mr Whitlam’s report, a full copy was given to the NSW police.
Following examination by the police of the report, it is now available here
A summary of the report is available here
Police requested certain sections and the names of some victims and their families who participated in the inquiry not be identified in the report so their privacy is protected.
The Bishops sincerely thank those who participated in the inquiry along with Mr Whitlam for bringing his expertise and judgment to very complex matters.
All sexual abuse is a crime and is to be condemned. The Bishops offer their profound apologies to victims of child sexual abuse and will continue to work to bring them justice and healing.
To read Bishop Anthony’s pastoral message to the faithful of the Diocese of Parramatta click here
The Whitlam Report will be thoroughly and carefully examined by both dioceses in order to determine if and how current processes and protocols can be improved.
In responding to complaints, the Bishops will continue to work closely with the police and other authorities in their efforts to not only deal with sexual abuse but to treat all victims and their families with respect and compassion.
The Diocese of Parramatta strives to promote the safety and protection of children and other vulnerable persons in its care.
To access the diocesan Complaints policy click here
To access the diocesan Child Protection Policy click here
Catholic Education Parramatta Child Protection Information Line for current parents and former students: 1300 661 015. For more information click here
Counselling is available to victims and their families from the special service that has been established by CatholicCare Parramatta: 02 9933 0233.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
On 11 January 2013, the Governor-General appointed a six-member Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Royal Commission will inquire into how institutions with a responsibility for children have managed and responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse and related matters.
It will investigate where systems have failed to protect children, and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices to prevent and better respond to child sexual abuse in institutions.
The Commissioners can look at any private, public or non-government organisation that is, or was in the past, involved with children, including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, and religious organisations.
For news and information about the Royal Commission, including submissions, hearings and support services click here
Contact the Royal Commission: 1800 099 340.
Download Whitlam Report Media Release
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