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Friday, May 19, 2017

Safe as Churches? Government push for national redress, more....

Welcome to the Truth, Justice and Healing Council eNewsletter

May 2017
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Safe as Churches? Royal commission addresses National Council of Churches

Royal Commission Chair, Peter McClellan delivered a hard-hitting speech via video link this week to the National Council of Churches conference in Melbourne. The speech includes a detailed summary of the Commission's work to date and outlines a number of its findings and thinking, including damning statistics about the incidence of abuse in religious organisations, particularly in the Catholic Church. 

Justice Peter McClellan Speech
National Council of Churches Conference - 16 May 2017

Royal Commission may recommend consistent national mandatory reporting laws for child sex abuse
ABC PM - 16 May 2017

Justice McClellan warns churches to change or risk illegitimacy
ABC - 16 May 2017Online 


Frankly speaking...

Following Justice McClellan's speech this week it now seems obvious that the Commission will have a lot to say about organisational cultures and how they positively or not engender child safe environments.  They may also concentrate on personnel training, formation, supervision and accreditation in that context. Moreover, the Commission is very likely to suggest changes to our national criminal laws and to police reporting requirements.

But in churches like my own the conversation needs to be far deeper and more challenging.

Latest from the Council

Govt starts push for states and institutions to join national redress

Social Services Minister Christian Porter has begun the delicate job of convincing the states and other groups to join a Commonwealth scheme designed to compensate survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.

Christian Porter begins task of convincing states to join child sex abuse compensation scheme
SMH - 19 May 2017

Minister Porter's Statement
19 May 2017

More public events and apologies from Catholic institutions

Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) will deliver a national apology on behalf of its schools to the victims and survivors of sexual abuse at the National Arboretum in Canberra on 1 June during EREA's National Principals' Conference. The Apology has been developed in consultation with survivors and is open to all.

For more information about attendance at the National Apology, please email Catherine Greenley at Edmund Rice Education Australia on

Statement from Edmund Rice Education Australia
18 May 2017


St Stanislaus' College is planning to hold a public apology and Liturgy of sorrow and hope on Friday 16 June 2017.

In an open letter from Head of College, Anne Wenham says the apology is made 'with a shared acknowledgement that the abuse of children and young people was a failure of the Mission of the College which seeks to open the eyes, minds and hearts of our
students to God's loving presence in their lives'.

Letter from Head of College Anne Wenham
15 May 2017



Abuse survivors want their records from institutions

Survivors of abuse in Australian children's homes and orphanages have called for a new national strategy to secure the release of their own historic personal records held by churches and charities.

Care Leavers Australasia Network Chief Executive Leonie Sheedy says many survivors have spent years trying to track down records about their time in institutional care.

Abuse survivors want their own personal records handed over from institutions
The Canberra Times -
14 May 2017

A picture tells a thousand words - care leavers need access to their records
TJHC blog - 15 September 2016


Pope says abuse survivor who quit Vatican panel was right on some issues

Pope Francis has praised an abuse survivor who quit his reform commission citing Vatican resistance.

Irish lay woman Marie Collins, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse herself, resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors earlier this year.

"She's right on some things," the Pope acknowledged, saying "there are too many delayed cases … backed up here," referring to the Vatican.

Pope says abuse survivor who  quit Vatican panel was right on some issues
Crux - 13 May 2017

Coming up

May 31, Marist Brothers Project Roundtable, Sydney
June 6, Keynote address to Wollongong Diocesan Assembly, Wollongong
June 28, Spirituality in the Pub, The Sandy, Sandringham Victoria
July 4, Address to Clergy Life and Ministry National Directors Annual Conference, North Sydney
July 18, Address to University of third Age, Canberra
July 19, Address to Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Conference, Melbourne
August 24, Address biennial National Catholic Education Media, Marketing and Communications Conference, Surfers Paradise
August 25, Address to South Australian Catholic Principals, Adelaide
October 19, Address to Catholic Community of Geelong, Geelong
November 4, Address to Catholic School Parents Australia, Hobart
November 13 Address to Catholic Secondary Principals Australia, Adelaide

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