TJHC welcomes time extension for Royal Commission

Royal Commission

Truth, Justice and Healing Council CEO, Francis Sullivan, has welcomed the release of the interim report from the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

Mr Sullivan said that the Commission must be given the time and resources it needs to complete its investigations.

The report was tabled in Federal Parliament this afternoon (Monday 30 June 2014).

Commissioner Peter McClellan has asked the Federal Government to provide another $104 million and a further two years to complete the Commission's investigations into how institutions across Australia have responded to allegation of child sexual abuse.

The time extension would see the Commission complete its final report by 15 December 2017. The extension would allow for another 30 public hearing beyond the 40 anticipated by the end of 2015.

Attorney-General George Brandis says the report, which was tabled in Parliament today, is an important milestone for the Commission and the Australian community.

'The interim report makes clear the enormous scale of the task being undertaken by the commission,' he said, the ABC adds.

Senator Brandis says the request for an extension is under consideration by the Government.

Mr Sullivan said the work of the Royal Commission must be allowed to continue until the Commissioners are fully satisfied the work is complete.

'This is a major social issue for our nation and we need the investment of both time and money to give the security to the community that institutions have been brought to account and victims have been given adequate time to tell their stories and to access support.

'To not finish the job properly and completely would be an insult to all the victims of abuse and one of the greatest lost opportunities of our generation.

'Governments around Australia must now back in the work of the Royal Commission with the establishment of a national compensation scheme for victims and nationally consistent child protection laws and standards of compliance for all government and non-government institutions.

'This is a once in a life time chance for the community to fully understand the devastation of child sexual abuse, its historic pervasion into so many different institutions and steps needed to ensure past tragedies are never revisited.

'Until the Commissioners and the broader community are satisfied that everything possible has been learnt about how institutions have responded to child sexual abuse allegations in the past and how children can be best protected in the future this Royal Commission must continue,' Mr Sullivan said.

FULL COVERAGE

TJHC Welcomes Royal Commission Interim Report and Supports Extended Timetable and Funding (TJHC Media Release)

Royal commission into child sex abuse releases interim report, calls for extension and more funds (ABC)

Abuse inquiry needs more time (news.com.au)

From the Royal Commission in Sydney yesterday.

Monday 30 June 2014 – Day 9

Day nine of the Royal Commission hearing into the way in which the Marist Brothers responded to child sexual abuse perpetrated by two teaching brothers from the early 1960s through to the late 1980s continued in Sydney today after being adjourned for two weeks.

Today’s hearing commenced with retired provincial of the Marist Brothers, Br Alexis Turton continuing to give evidence about his response to a complaint made by Damian De Marco of abuse by Kostka Chute at Marist College Canberra.

Br Alexis was vice-provincial of the Marist Brothers from 1983 to June 1989 and provincial from June 1989 to June 1995.

Under cross examination from Mr O’Brien representing Mr DeMarco, Br Alexis gave evidence as to the details about his meeting with Mr DeMarco at Canberra Airport, the subsequent meeting with Fr Brian Lucas and steps he took to enquire into Chute’s conduct.

Br Alexis also gave evidence today about communications with the Church insurer, CCI, about indemnity for the Marists Brothers in cases of alleged child sexual abuse. Br Alexis gave evidence in relation to decisions by CCI to cover claims stemming from Chute’s criminal behaviour.

Br Alexis was asked about steps he took following disclosures by Chute of inappropriate behaviour against two boys during the meeting he had with Fr Brian Lucas in 1993. He gave evidence as to the inquiries undertaken as to the well-being of the men, and said that he had followed advice as to the approach to take to such inquiries in those circumstances.

Late in the afternoon the current Provincial, Br Jeff Crowe, began giving evidence. He was asked about the Marist Brothers’ schools in Australia, and questioned about the history of policy development.

Br Crowe recounted the emerging awareness in the Church of the issue of child sexual abuse by priests and religious, saying the Marist Brothers had initially learned of the issue through publicity from the USA and later locally in Australia.

He said this had generated discussion about the development of a child protection policy, but the Marist Brothers had not initiated inquiries to discover the extent of any issue within their ranks.

He said the Marist Brothers had instead responded to complainants as they came forward.

The hearing will continue in Sydney tomorrow.

TJHC Media Release here.

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