Legal profession needs to consider cross examination of sexual assault victims
JUDGES, magistrates and the legal profession need to consider whether cross examination of vulnerable sexual assault victims involving "a form of harassment" is acceptable in contemporary Australia, Justice Peter McClellan told the Judicial College of Victoria in a speech on Friday.
"Defence counsel are in a position of control and power and have the capacity to confuse, intimidate and manipulate vulnerable witnesses. As a community, we must ask whether this situation remains acceptable," Justice McClellan told the Judicial College of Victoria in a speech on Friday.
At about this time four years ago, the crisis of child sexual abuse in Australia had reached boiling point. The Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry was well underway, the Special Commission for Inquiry into the Catholic Diocese of Maitland Newcastle was about to commence and there were overwhelming calls for an Australia-wide royal commission into child sex abuse.
Much of that agitation was coming from the Hunter region, and the role of The Herald in Newcastle in driving the public advocacy for a Royal Commission cannot be underestimated. During this time the crimes and cover-ups within the Catholic Church in Newcastle were rightly laid bare for all to see.
Now, after almost four years, as the Royal Commission enters its final phase, it, too, is turning its attention to what happened in the Catholic Church in Newcastle.
THE Archdiocese of Perth is the first of Australia's Catholic dioceses to begin to establish safeguarding officers across its network of parishes.
The Safeguarding Office is responsible for ensuring the safety of children, young people and vulnerable people within the confines of the Catholic Church across the Archdiocese of Perth, educating the Catholic community on child protection and protective behaviours, and establishing safeguarding officers within Perth's metropolitan and rural parishes.
Brisbane Archbishop calls for Australian Catholic Church synod
BRISBANE Archbishop Mark Coleridge has unveiled plans to hold an historic plenary council of the entire Catholic Church in Australia.
"This is no time for the Church to be putting up signs that say 'business as usual'," Archbishop Coleridge said.
"If we needed any proof, then the Royal Commission has shown that. We need to face the facts, and in the light of the facts, which aren't always friendly, we have to make big decisions about the future."
THE Truth Justice and Healing Council has welcomed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse's research report, released this week, which examines what elements make an institution 'child safe'. The Report: Key Elements of a child-safe organisation will assist institutions to prevent, identify and improve responses to physical, sexual, emotional/psychological abuse and the neglect of children. Read the report here.
To complement this work, the Royal Commission has also released a brief publication outlining the elements that make an organisation child safe. Read the elements here.
29 August 2016 to 9 September 2016: Case study 43: Maitland Newcastle Diocese 12 September: Case study 44, Fr Farrell - Dioceses of Parramatta 15 September: Catholic Theological College 20 Sept 2016: St Aloysius College staff development day 28 September: St Vincent de Paul social justice meeting 31 September 2016: St Vincent De Paul social justice meetin 3 November: FaithX, The Quality of Mercy event 8 November 2016: Spirituality in the Pub, Notting Hill, Victoria