As I said last week it is clear that the Royal Commission has shifted its attention to the second phase of its brief. So far its public hearings have rightly highlighted the failures of institutions. Without wanting to minimise the past failures of the Church I do think it is now an appropriate time to draw attention to the significant work that has gone into prevention, education and victim focused pastoral care within the Catholic Church.
Following the public hearing of Case Study 11 into the Tardun, Bindoon, Clontarf and Castledare facilities, the Christian Brothers undertook to re-examine cases of former students that had been "settled on demonstrably unjust and unreasonably low terms". To 24 May 2016 the order received 164 requests. Of these, 147 have been finalised and new settlements have been reached. This accounts for 91% of requests for resettlements since May 2014.
Jury behaviour study raises possibilities of major reform
The Royal Commission's study into jury behaviour (the world's largest) has raised the possibility of major reform in the way sexual abuse cases are presented before the courts. The research, released this week found juries were not unfairly influenced by hearing evidence from multiple complainants against the same defendant.
The Royal Commission has released two research reports. The first examines information-sharing frameworks. It found laws and common objectives across institutions can help ensure that children's safety is the primary consideration when sharing information. The second examines best practice in implementation. It demonstrates the importance of properly implementing policy change.