Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Australia : Church has paid out $276 million in abuse claims

Image result for Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual AbuseThe Catholic Church has paid more than $276 million in claims to thousands of victims of child sexual abuse, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard, ABC News reports.

Close to 4500 people made claims for alleged incidents of child sexual abuse between January 1980 and February 2015, but the earliest incidents reported to a claim were in the 1920s.

Counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, told the Sydney hearing that figure included compensation, treatment, legal and other costs.

Of the total amount, $258.8 million was monetary compensation of about $91,000 per claim.
"The Christian Brothers who, at the relevant time operated a number of residential facilities, reported the highest number of payments," Ms Furness told the hearing.

"This order made 763 payments, amounting to $48.5 million, with an average payment of $64,000.

The Christian Brothers also issued a statement apologising to victims of abuse and their families.

"To those who were subjected to abuse at any of our facilities we express again our profound sorrow and enduring regret that their trust was so grievously betrayed," the statement said.

The hearing heard the most common institution type identified in claims was schools: they were identified in 46 per cent of all claims, and children's orphanages or residential facilities were identified in 29 per cent of claims.

The highest number of claims of child sexual abuse concerned a residential care facility operated by the De La Salle Brothers in Queensland, with 219 claims relating to the facility.

Earlier, Francis Sullivan from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, told the hearing that things are very different now, and that parents should be aware that their children are in safe hands at Catholic schools.

Mr Sullivan said the Church's approach to handling redress claims has improved but victims are not consistently dealt with and do not have the same opportunities or payouts between dioceses and congregations, The Australian adds.

"It's still not a fair system," he said.

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