Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse

23/12/2012

On 12 November 2012, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the creation of a national Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances of child sexual abuse.

Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Bishop of Parramatta, said the Prime Minister had the support of Australia’s Catholic Bishops. In a statement to the people of the Diocese of Parramatta, Bishop Anthony said the Church would cooperate fully with the Royal Commission.

“I know I speak for our entire Catholic community when I say that our hearts go out to the victims of child sexual abuse, the ‘little ones’ whom Christ most loves, and to their families,” Bishop Anthony said.

“Sexual abuse is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We are ashamed of past failures and determined to do better.

“I encourage all victims of abuse to contact the police. Other support is available to victims and their families via CatholicCare Parramatta counselling tel 02 9933 0233.”

To read Bishop Anthony’s statement in full click here here

Truth, Justice and Healing

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) support the establishment of the Royal Commission. Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the ACBC, and Sr Annette Cunliffe RSC, Chair of CRA, have reiterated the Church's desire to openly embrace the Royal Commission and cooperate with its work.

The Hon Barry O'Keefe AM QC and Mr Francis Sullivan will be chair and CEO respectively of the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which will include representatives from the community to provide expertise, wisdom and guidance over the course of the Royal Commission.

The Council will comprise men and women with professional and other expertise and importantly will seek to have an effective ongoing relationship with people who have been damaged by the sexual abuse scandal.

For more information about the Truth, Justice and Healing Council click here here

To read the Bishops’ statement in response to the Royal Commission click here here

To read the statement from the Catholic Church in response to the Royal Commission click here here

Policies and statements

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

Terms of reference

The Government said the Royal Commission’s terms of reference would be wide-ranging, looking at religious organisations, state care providers, not-for-profit bodies as well as the responses of child service agencies and the police.

The terms of reference will ask that the Commission seek submissions from the public. The Commission will also have the power to call witnesses and take evidence.

Interested individuals and organisations were invited to comment on a Consultation Paper on issues such as the scope of the Terms of Reference, the form of the Royal Commission, the number and type of Royal Commissioner/s and the reporting timetable.

Submissions for the terms of reference closed on 26 November 2012. To read the Catholic Bishops' submission click here

Submissions

It is likely the Commission will begin its work in early 2013 and will call for submissions in due course. If you have an urgent inquiry, you can phone the national call centre on 1800 099 340 or email: royalcommissionsecretariat@pmc.gov.au

For more information about the Royal Commission click here

Support services

CatholicCare Parramatta Counselling Support: 02 9933 0233

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Mensline: 1300 789 978

NSW Victim Support: 1800 633 063

Crimestoppers NSW: 1800 333 000

For other services click here



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