The chairman of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has warned that many stories from the inquiry will shock people, reports the ABC. In his opening remarks, Justice Peter McClellan says more than 400 private hearings with witnesses and victims have already taken place. The inquiry was commissioned by the Federal Government to investigate allegations of systemic abuse within religious and state-run institutions.
Justice McClellan says some preliminary themes have already emerged. 'It is apparent that where an organisation lacks an appropriate culture, and there are not appropriate practices and training of staff within the organisation, there is a risk that sexual abuse will occur,' he said.
'In some institutions, there may be only one perpetrator. In others, there will be multiple abusers and many children may be abused.
'It is reported to us that when it occurs in residential institutions, sexual abuse is almost always accompanied by almost unbelievable levels of physical violence inflicted on the children by the adults who have responsibility for their welfare.'
Justice McClellan noted the effect abuse has had on many victims. 'Many have thought of suicide and some have attempted it,' he said.
In October, the inquiry will examine the response of the YMCA and police to allegations Jonathan Lord sexually abused children in the organisations care.
The commission's attention will move north in November, when it examines the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse in the North Coast Children’s Home by the Anglican Diocese of Grafton in 2006 and 2007.
A final public hearing in December will hear evidence about the 'establishment, operation and review of the Towards Healing process by the Catholic Church.'
Ms Furness also told the hearing that an orphanage, another Catholic Church institution and the Salvation Army will be the subjects of hearings next year.
Cases of sexual abuse will shock the nation (My Daily News)
Child victim tells of scout's dishonour (The Daily Telegraph)