The Church will enter the national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse when that becomes possible under national legislation. Source: ACBC/CRA.
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia made the announcement yesterday in a joint statement.
“Since as early as 2013, the Catholic Church has called for a national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse,” ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.
“We support the royal commission’s recommendation for a national redress scheme, administered by the Commonwealth, and we are keen to participate in it.
“Survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories.”
CRA president Sr Ruth Durick OSU said: “We recognise that redress will not take away a survivor’s pain, but hope that it can provide some practical assistance in the journey towards recovery from abuse.
“We are committed to providing redress to survivors who were abused within the Catholic Church.”
Various Catholic leaders told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that they supported a national redress scheme to limit future trauma for survivors of abuse in obtaining redress from the Church.
Given the diverse structure of the Church, Catholic officials have been working with the Commonwealth Government to enable the Church to work effectively with the independent National Redress Scheme Operator.
“To that end, we are establishing an agency to allow dioceses and religious congregations to interact with the Scheme Operator,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the church’s commitment as a “significant development", the Herald Sun reports.
“The royal commission put the horrific experiences of survivors on the public record and now the redress scheme will continue the process of healing,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Every government and institution must take responsibility for the abuse that occurred on its watch, and pay the cost of providing redress.”
Western Australia is the only state yet to sign up to redress scheme bur Mr Turnbull said the government was working “very constructively” to secure its involvement, along with other non-government institutions.
Legislation to establish the scheme passed the House of Representatives this week.
Boost for redress scheme as Catholic Church opts in (The Australian)