The leadership of the Catholic Church in Australia has endorsed the development of a reform agenda which could see the most significant overhaul of the Church’s approach to clerical sexual abuse in its more than 200-year history in Australia.
In a statement released today, Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, said the reforms are now being fully developed and will be presented to Church leaders in the first half of 2014.
'These proposals recognise that we must do better when we are dealing with victims of sexual abuse and as we work to make sure our institutions are as safe as possibly for children,' Mr Sullivan said.
The Catholic Church reform agenda proposals include:
appointing independent compensation commissioners to determine payments to victims who go through the victim response process known as Towards Healing. This would separate the pastoral responses in Towards Healing from the determination of financial payments
the appointment of lay and independent experts to strengthen the Church’s National Committee of Professional Standards.
the introduction of an independent national board to develop and administer national child protection standards.
The board would monitor adherence to these standards and publicly report on compliance the board would also provide more rigorous assessment, monitoring, auditing and enforcement of Towards Healing practices.
the introduction of greater transparency through public reporting by both the new national board and the Towards Healing process.
The reform proposals are outlined in the Truth Justice and Healing Council’s Towards Healing submission to the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
RELEASE IN FULL
Catholic Church to revamp sex victims' program (Australian)
The Truth Justice and Healing Council Towards Healing submission can be seen at:
Truth Justice and Healing Council www.tjhcouncil.org.au
The Royal Commission www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au