The Royal Commission has released its final report into the Criminal Justice system and its interaction with child sexual abuse allegations and claims.
The 2000- plus page report made 85 recommendations across many different areas including reform to police and prosecution responses, evidence of complainants, sentences and appeals, and grooming offences.
The Commission also made a single recommendation calling for the legal privilege currently covering information priests might hear in the confessional to be removed.
Last week I was on the Gold Coast meeting with communications staff from different Catholic education offices around the country and then the following day in Adelaide to join Catholic school principals at a South Australian staff development day.
Both groups were keen to hear what might be the likely final recommendations from the Royal Commission and what impact they might have on schools.
The Commission is currently working on a volume in its final report focused specifically on schools and while it seems, now more than ever, that schools are among the safest places for children there is no doubt that this volume will place even further obligations on schools to ensure children are safe.
New directors for Catholic Professional Standards Ltd
Members of Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPS) have announced the appointment of Professor The Hon Michael Lavarch AO and Dr Robyn Miller PhD as Directors of the Company.
Professor Lavarch has had extensive involvement in Australian public life, and served in local government before being elected to Federal Parliament in 1987, serving as Attorney General in the Keating Government.
Dr Robyn Miller brings over 30 years' experience in the community sector, local government and child protection areas, and has practised in the public and private sectors as a therapist, clinical supervisor, consultant and lecturer.
THJC meets with school principals and communications staff
The Royal Commission's final report and recommendations will have significant implications for Catholic schools including strengthened reporting requirements and stronger working with children checks, Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, has forecast.
Mr Sullivan was speaking this week on the Gold Coast at a conference of communications staff from across Australia's Catholic Education Offices and also in Adelaide at a separate event to more than 100 principals from South Australian Catholic schools.
Pope Francis says sexual abuse by priests is an 'absolute monstrosity' in new book
Pope Francis has branded sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests a "monstrosity" and pledged action against perpetrators and bishops who protected them.
The pope made the comments in the foreword of a new book titled Father, I Forgive You: Abused But Not Broken, written by Swiss man Daniel Pittet, who was first raped by a priest when he was eight years old.
Pope Francis, whose repeated promises of zero tolerance have been criticised by victims who say the Vatican needs to do much more, called sexual abuse "an absolute monstrosity, a terrible sin that contradicts everything that the Church teaches".
Bicentenary of the Foundation of the Marist Brothers
Marist Brother Provincial, Br Peter Carroll, has again apologised to child sexual abuse survivors as part of his address at the Bicentenary Mass for the Order earlier this month.
"To those men and women who, as innocent children, were entrusted into the care of Marist schools and institutions, and who were abused and damaged, sometimes permanently, I offer our deepest remorse and apology. To their parents who placed them into our care and who, without doubt, have questioned and regretted their decision, I also offer our profound apology. To their families and loved ones who have journeyed with them in their pain, I also apologise."
New research into child sexual abuse in contemporary institutional settings
Two new research reports, released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, suggest that a significant proportion of reports to police of child sexual abuse in institutional settings involved another child as the person of interest.
The research reports, Child sexual abuse in Australian institutional contexts 2008-2013: Findings from administrative data and the follow-up study Child sexual abuse in institutional contexts: The reliability of police data, nature and allegations reported to police, and factors driving reporting rates were released this week.
October 10, Address to the Western Australian Bar Association October 17, Address to University of the Third Age, Canberra October 19, Address to Catholic Community of Geelong, Geelong November 4, Address to Catholic School Parents Australia, Hobart November 14, Address to Catholic Secondary Principals Australia, Adelaide