Catholic Religious Australia joins the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference in welcoming the Prime Minister’s announcement of her intention to establish a Royal Commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia. We support her statement that:
These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject. The individuals concerned deserve the most thorough of investigations into the wrongs that have been committed against them. They deserve to have their voices heard and their claims investigated. I believe a Royal Commission is the best way to do this.
Sadly this horrific crime is too common in our society and we welcome any course of action that contributes to healing for victims and to just and effective treatment of those who have committed crimes against children and vulnerable adults. The prevention of such evil into the future must be a priority. The members of Catholic Religious Australia share the Bishops’ abhorrence of this crime. We also share their interest in ensuring that the Terms of Reference enable it to function effectively.
A Royal Commission has the potential to investigate allegations, sift evidence and investigate the occurrence of abuse in any institution beyond the family. A heightened level of awareness is, in itself, a means of prevention and has the potential to reach beyond institutions and change a culture of silence about such matters. This promotion of healing and prevention in all parts of our society, it will be most welcome.
As the recommendations should serve the goals of healing, justice and prevention Catholic Religious Australia appreciates the opportunity to cooperate fully with this Commission.