Child protection an ongoing priority

Clare Condon SGS

I am utterly committed to the ongoing development of best practice in the protection of children and the prevention of abuse of children at every level within all Church structures, writes Good Samaritan Sister, Clare Condon SGS.

- The Good Oil

Unequivocally, a person’s healing from child sexual abuse is a long and painful journey, and for some people who have experienced abuse, there seems to be no end to the pain and trauma.

Since its establishment late last year, the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has had the task of investigating institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse. Hopefully, such a thorough investigation will lead to recommendations that highlight the unacceptable and repugnant nature of child sexual assault in any society and in any institution.

Ideally, those recommendations should create and foster best practices for protecting children and young people here in Australia. From evidence in the public domain, some institutions of the Catholic Church in Australia in the past have failed young people. Currently, I see institutions seeking to protect children with sound policies, processes and procedures. It is my hope and my determination that such protection will continue to be ingrained into all Church-based organisations.

The Royal Commission will raise many matters which will be a cause of despair and angst. For some, this may further erode their faith and love of the Church as an expression of God in the world. Hopefully, however, the Royal Commission will also uncover incidents when Church institutions have responded with care, love and remorse for the damage done by abuse to individuals in its institutions.

In my current role as a member of the National Committee for Professional Standards of the Catholic Church (NCPS), I see women and men utterly committed to bringing healing to those who have suffered. These are National and State Directors of Professional Standards Offices and their staff. They ought to be applauded by our Church and by our society for their dedication and hard work as they are often engaged in a heart-rending task of seeking to bring healing into the lives of wounded people. Daily they deal with the pain, the anger and the hurt of people.

Over the past week or so there has been discussion about the relationship between the establishment of Towards Healing, the Church’s pastoral response to abuse, and Catholic Church Insurance (CCI), with the suggestion that Towards Healing is simply an expression of the limitation of financial liability by CCI. Such an allegation is unfounded and erroneous; it does not recognise the committed work of numerous professionals who established Towards Healing as a pastoral response to individuals hurt by sexual abuse.

FULL STORY Child protection a priority

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