The Catholic Church has paid out $43 million through its Towards Healing process to victims who were sexually abused as children, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard yesterday, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The hearing was told that Christian Brothers were the order with the
most complaints against them, followed by the Marist Brothers and then
the De La Salle Brothers.
The highest amount paid out under the process was $850,000 from the Archdiocese of Sydney, the commission was told.
The Catholic Church's barrister Peter Gray SC said the current hearing before the commission into the church's controversial Towards Healing process was a 'searing and decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Church in Australia.'
He said the church was ashamed to acknowledge that in some cases, the
church concealed or covered up the facts and the abuse against children
and moved the perpetrators to other places and did not report the cases
Mr Gray said: 'The sacred place of children, their innocence and
their trustfulness, is central to the Christian tradition and to the
Catholic faith.' However, when he began to quote from the Gospel of Mark
- 'Let the little children come to me' - there was an outcry from the
TRUTH JUSTICE AND HEALING COUNCIL
Towards Healing, the Catholic Church’s protocol for dealing
with allegations of sexual abuse, was the focus of the fourth public
hearing of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child
Sexual Abuse in Sydney yesterday.
This hearing is expected to run for
On day one the Royal Commission heard opening statements from Senior Counsel assisting the Royal Commission, Gail Furness SC. Ms Furness outlined the Towards Healing process.
She summarised the four case studies involving the Archdiocese of
Brisbane, the Diocese of Lismore and the Marist Brothers. She provided
data on victims who had approached Towards Healing.
Following Ms Furness’ opening address, Counsel representing the Truth Justice and Healing Council, Peter Gray SC, provided an opening statement during which he read the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s commitment statement of apology from the Towards Healing submission.
He expressed regret on behalf of the Church to victims of abuse. Mr
Gray confirmed the Church’s commitment to fully cooperate with the Royal
Mrs Joan Isaacs, the subject of the first Towards Healing case study to be examined by the Royal Commission in this fourth pubic hearing, read her witness statement which detailed her dissatisfaction with her experience of the Towards Healing process and other dealings with the Catholic Church. The statement was strong and clear.
Following Mrs Isaacs, Dr Ken Robertson who was at the time Director
of Professional Standards in Queensland, gave evidence. He talked about
the way Mrs Isaacs’ case had been handled. He said he hoped the evidence
he’d given the Commission provided a deeper understanding of the
devastation caused by sexual abuse.
Transcripts of evidence given yesterday will be on the Royal Commission web site in the next day or two.
The Truth Justice and Healing Council is coordinating the Catholic Church’s engagement with the Royal Commission.
For more information about the Royal Commission visit tjhcouncil.org.au