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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Legal issues, child safe recommendations, Frankly Speaking and more...


Welcome to the Truth, Justice and Healing Council eNewsletter

August 2016
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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.

Read speech

Justice Peter McClellan tells judges how justice system fails sexual abuse victims
The Herald - 21 August 2016

 

   
 

Frankly speaking...

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.

Latest from the Council
 
 

Archdiocese of Perth Safeguarding Officers

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.

See the Archdiocese safeguarding webpage here including a video presentation by Safeguarding Project Coordinator: Andrea Musulin

 
 

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."

Brisbane Archbishop calls for first synod for entire Catholic Church in Australia since 1937
Catholic Leader - 17 August 2016

Historic Catholic synod
ABC Religion and Ethic Report - 24 August 2016

 
 

RC Child Safe Institutions Recommendations

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.

TJHC Media Release

 
 

Draft Bill: SA government consulting on changes to screening

SIGNIFICANT changes will be made to the way Working With Children Checks are done in South Australia.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the changes will create a nation-leading system in line with recommendations from the Nyland Royal Commission.

The draft Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Bill 2016 is available on the AttorneyGeneral's Department website and on YourSAy.

Consultation closes13 September 2016.

SA Govt media release and draft Bill
 
 
 

CSA survivors call for national police apology

PEOPLE who were abused in orphanages and children's homes are trying to persuade police chiefs from across Australia to apologise.

They say police facilitated abuse by refusing to investigate claims and returning children who absconded to the institution where they were abused.

Police chiefs will meet to discuss an apology in October.

Abuse survivors campaign for nationwide police apology
ABC PM - 23 August 2016

 
 

RC publishes survivor audio stories

THE Royal Commission has published nine deidentified 'audio stories' based on survivors' experiences as revealed in the Royal Commission's private sessions.

The Commission said it hopes the audio stories will build community awareness of the impacts of child sexual abuse.

Connect to the stories 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

   
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