Last Friday the Royal Commission concluded its final public hearing. The Commission will offically conclude in December when it delivers its final report to Government.
Case study 57 inquired into the nature, cause and impact of child sexual abuse, as well as effective current and future approaches to preventing and responding to it.
After more than four years of public hearings, some 20 involving the Catholic Church either directly or indirectly, the Commissioners will now spend the next six months or so completing their final report.
The information gathered through the course of the Commission has identified more than 4,000 institutions where the abuse of children is alleged to have occurred.
It has already held more than 6,500 private sessions with individual survivors with a further 2,000 to be completed before the end of the year. Around 40 percent of these private sessions have revealed claims of abuse within a Catholic institution.
The Commission has sat for more than 440 days in public and heard evidence from some 1,200 witnesses.
It has delivered 33 case study reports to government and published 44 research reports across a broad range of issues.
The Royal Commission finished what has been a grueling and major part of its work over the past four years – its schedule of some 57 public investigations of institutions in which there was significant child sexual abuse and, significantly, a failure to respond appropriately.
As Justice McClellan said in his opening remarks during the final case study the Commission could have undertaken many more case studies were it not for the constraints of time and resources.
Despite this I think it is safe to say that the Commission has gone far and beyond what most people had expected of it when it started its work in early 2013.
My appearance before the Royal Commission: Fr David Ranson
Fr David Ranson, VG of the Diocese of Broken Bay, gave evidence before the Royal Commission as part of a panel to dicuss the questions of Governance and Culture (6 February) and Formation of Clergy during Fedruary's final public hearing into the Catholic Church.
He has written a detailed account of his experience before the Commission and more significantly his involvement with child sexual abuse survivors he met in the hearing room.
Church reformers call for urgent delegation to visit Rome
One of Australia's peak Catholic reform groups has written to Australian Bishops and priests calling on them to distribute an open letter and petition to their parishes seeking reform and major changes within the Church.
The open letter, form Catholics for Renewal, urges bishops and archbishops not to wait for Royal Commission recommendations, before acting on serious issues that have contributed to the child sexual abuse crisis.
The Royal Commission invites interested parties to attend a research symposium: Creating Child Safe Institutions on Monday 1 May from 9:00am to 12:30pm at the Ibis Hotel, 15-21 Therry Street, Melbourne.
This symposium will share findings from three research reports published by the Royal Commission dealing with creating child safe institutions.