The future of the Catholic Church and its response to child sex abuse were the main focus of a 'Spirituality in the Pub' meeting in the Notting Hill Hotel in Notting Hill in Melbourne's east this week.
More than 120 people attended the event, titled 'Is Truth, Justice and Healing possible', to hear the CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, talk about the reforms which have taken place in the Church over recent years and the challenges it continues to face.
Since the Turnbull Government announced its plans to set up a national redress scheme for the survivors of institutional child sex abuse some, not many, lawyers and commentators, have come out saying it is effectively a Catholic driven scheme designed to protect the bottom line. We certainly supported the scheme, but to suggest we were able to bend the will of both the Commission and the Federal government to design a scheme that financially benefits the Church is, to put it kindly, ludicrous.
More church authorities have welcome the Federal Government's redress scheme which was announced last Friday.
The Marist Brothers Province of Australia and the Australian Province of the Society of Jesus have both issued statements this week welcoming the plans. The Ballarat Diocese has also said it will fully participate in the scheme.
Statement: Marist Brothers - Redress 9 November 2016
Statement: Jesuits welcome redress scheme 10 November 2016
RC releases research report on disability and child sex abuse
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a research report which suggests that up to 14 per cent of children with disability are likely to experience sexual abuse.
The report – Disability and child sexual abuse in institutional contexts – draws attention to the relative absence of children with disability from Australian child protection frameworks and policy documents.
The researchers also found that children with disability can be vulnerable to sexual abuse and outlined the various factors that may contribute.
Child sexual abuse statutory time limits removed for Queensland survivors
Queensland victims of child sexual abuse will now be able to sue those responsible, regardless of how long ago the crime was committed, after State Parliament unanimously passed new laws.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said removing the restriction was an important step towards addressing decades of injustice and indifference shown to victims.
"As the despairing evidence given to the royal commission repeatedly demonstrated, the appalling effect of child sex abuse means victims are often decades into adult life before they are even able to report their experiences," she said.