The Royal Commission's public hearing inquiring into the response of Catholic Church authorities in the Maitland-Newcastle region to allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious continues this week. The Commission has heard harrowing evidence from a number of victims of abuse perpetrated by Fr Vincent Ryan and Marist Brothers Francis Cable (known as Br Romuald), Thomas Butler (known as Br Patrick) and Darcy John O'sullivan (known as Br Dominic).
A daily summary of the case study hearing is available on the TJHC's website.
The detailed testimonies from abuse survivors at the Newcastle hearing have been shocking, confronting and shameful. That the stories this week are just another set of entries into the sordid history of the sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church adds to the corrosive impact this scandal has had on the credibility of the Church. When actions don't match rhetoric credibility is the casualty.
Ballarat Diocese will set aside former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns' estate to help survivors of sexual abuse. Bishop Mulkearns, who died in April, was blamed for allowing pedophile priests to continue to operate in Victoria.
The late bishop left $2.1 million to be used by the current bishop of Ballarat for the benefit of the diocese "at his absolute discretion"..
The Truth Justice and Healing Council is currently considering a response to both.
Jesuits' safeguarding strategy released
The Australian Province of the Society of Jesus has released details of its new comrehensive strategy to safeguard children and young people. It includes a new professional standards consultative panel which will advise Provincial, Fr Brian McCoy sj on best practice approaches to child safety, redress and ongoing support for survivors of abuse. Included on the panel are former Victorian Child Safety Commissioner, Mr Bernie Geary OAM, Professor Stephen Smallbone, Dr June Kane AM, Ms Simone Shaw and Mr David White.
Brisbane Archdiocese to roll out new policy to safeguard children and vulnerable adults
As the country marks Child Protection Week from September 4-10, the Church is taking decisive new policy steps to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. As the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse exposes the past failures of the Church, it has also spurred authorities to roll out "best practice" policy measures to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults.
Research released on the support needs of specific population groups
A new report released by the Royal Commission identifies the support needs of specific population groups including survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, survivors of child sexual abuse with disability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of child sexual abuse.
The literature presented relates specifically to services and support provided to three select population groups:
people who have experienced child sexual abuse in an institutional context
12 September: Case study 44, Fr Farrell - Dioceses of Parramatta and Armidale 20 Sept 2016: St Aloysius College staff development day 27 September 2016, Dominican Friars Pre-Chapter Assembly, Templestowe 28 September 2016: St Vincent De Paul social justice meeting 25 October 2016, CSSA Leaders Summit, CLC Melbourne 25 October 2016, Catholic Theological College SRC 25 October 2016, St Roch's Parish Pastoral Council, Glen Iris 8 November 2016: Spirituality in the Pub, Notting Hill, Victoria