The Australian government’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has begun its examination of Towards Healing, the Australian bishops’ response to child sexual abuse that was launched in 1996.
“The data indicate the following for the period 1 January 1996 to 30
September 2013: 2,215 complaints were received and about 1,700 people
agreed to participate in the Towards Healing procedure, although not all
of these were necessarily pursued or substantiated,” said attorney Gail
“76% of all Towards Healing complaints related to alleged incidents of
child sexual abuse that occurred from 1950 to 1980 inclusive,” she
“Over 60% of all Towards Healing complaints detailed the
incident location as a school, college or orphanage. The Church
authority with the largest number of complaints was the Christian
Brothers, followed by the Marist Brothers and then the De La Salle
43% of alleged abusers were religious brothers, 21% were diocesan priests, and 14% were religious priests.
The commission then heard from Joan Isaacs, who was abused by a priest
who was subsequently convicted of his crime, as well a Church attorney,
who apologized for clerical sexual abuse.