The Royal Commission has indicated that it intends to hold a final hearing on the Catholic Church in early 2017.
Although child sexual abuse has occurred in many institutions apart from the Catholic Church, it falls to the Commission to examine whether there were and are any distinctive characteristics or features of the Church environment that caused children to be abused. At this stage of the Royal Commission's process it is tempting to adopt a defensive, reactionary stance.
But the damning results coming out of the Commission are rounded in the culture and systems of our Church. They expose a gross misuse of powers and structures. They cry out for reform.
Child sexual abuse by children demands more clinics, NSW Health worker says
Children commit up to half of all child sexual abuse according to a senior NSW clinical advisor with more than 800 children reported in NSW each year for causing serious sexual harm to other children. Dale Tolliday, a clinical advisor to the public rehabilitation service New Street, says if society learned the true rates of harm "we would be terrified".
The Royal Commission heard last year the majority of child sexual abuse in out-of-home care was likely committed by other children.