Showing posts sorted by relevance for query abuse. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query abuse. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, 19 June 2017

Australian Law Reform Commission recommends a National Plan to combat elder abuse

"4.40 Stakeholders reported many instances of abuse of people receiving aged care. These included reports of abuse by paid care workers and other residents of care homes, as well as by family members and/or appointed decision makers of care recipients. For example, Alzheimer’s Australia provided the following examples of physical and emotional abuse:
When working as a PCA [personal care assistant] in 2 high care units, I witnessed multiple, daily examples of residents who were unable to communicate being abused including: PCA telling resident to ‘die you f—ing old bitch!’ because she resisted being bed bathed. Hoist lifting was always done by one PCA on their own not 2 as per guidelines and time pressures meant PCAs often using considerable physical force to get resistive people into hoists; resident not secured in hoist dropped through and broke arm—died soon after; residents being slapped, forcibly restrained and force-fed or not fed at all; resident with no relatives never moved out of bed, frequently left alone for hours without attention; residents belongings being stolen and food brought in by relatives eaten by PCAs."
[Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 131), p.110]

In 2016 people 65 years of age and over comprised 15.3 per cent of the Australian population. This represents over 3.5 million older people, a figure the Australian Bureau of Statistics expects to grow to  9.6 million people by 2064.

The Turnbull Government needs to consider the recently published Australian Law Reform Commission report and act on its recommendations.

Australian Law Reform Commission, media release, 15 June 2017:
Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is delighted to be launching its Report, Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 131), on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2017.

The ALRC was asked to consider Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks and how they might better protect older persons from misuse or abuse, and safeguard their autonomy.

The Report includes 43 recommendations for law reform. The overall effect will be to safeguard older people from abuse and support their choices and wishes through:

* improved responses to elder abuse in residential aged care;
* enhanced employment screening of care workers;
* greater scrutiny regarding the use of restrictive practices in aged care;
* building trust and confidence in enduring documents as important advanced planning tools;
* protecting older people when ‘assets for care’ arrangements go wrong;
* banks and financial institutions protecting vulnerable customers from abuse;
better succession planning across the self-managed superannuation sector;
* adult safeguarding regimes protecting and supporting at-risk adults.

These outcomes should be further pursued through a National Plan to combat elder abuse and new empirical research into the prevalence of elder abuse.
ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, Commissioner-in-charge of the inquiry, said, “In developing the recommendations in this Report, we have worked to balance the autonomy of older people with providing appropriate protections, respecting the choices that older persons make, but also safeguarding them from abuse.”

The Report represents the culmination of research and consultation over a 15-month period, during which the ALRC consulted with 117 stakeholders around the country, released two consultation documents, and received more than 450 submissions.

Professor Croucher said:  “The ALRC is indebted to the broad range of individuals and organisations who have contributed to evidence base that informs its recommendations. In particular I thank the many individuals who generously shared with the ALRC personal stories of heartache and frustration, and of families torn apart by elder abuse. It is significant that the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC, has chosen to mark the launch of the Report today —with advocates and service providers —at the 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Forum.”

Monday, 13 February 2017

The shocking truth about historic institutional child sexual abuse in Australia

A Child’s Morning Prayer
Lord, I awake and see your light,
For You have kept me through the night,
To You I lift my hands and pray,
Keep me from sin throughout this day,
And if I die before it's done,
Save me through Jesus Christ, Your Son.

A Child’s Night Prayer
Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
to whom His love commits me here,
ever this night be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Origin unknown

The Commonwealth of Australia Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held its first public hearing in Sydney from Monday 16 to Thursday 19 September 2013. The Royal Commission's first public hearing into the Catholic Church in Australia and child sexual abuse began on Monday, 9 December 2013 and multiple hearings relating to Catholic institutions and specific clergy followed over the next four years. 

Excerpts from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Public Hearing into Catholic Church Authorities, Case Study 50, transcript, 6 February 2017:

1. This is the Royal Commission’s 50th public hearing…..

7. It was plain that hearings were needed to examine the responses of faith-based institutions, given that, as at the end of 2016, 60% of survivors attending a private session reported abuse in those institutions. Of those survivors, nearly two thirds reported abuse in Catholic institutions. While the percentage has varied over time, at present over 37% of all private session attendees reported sexual abuse in a Catholic institution. Consequently Catholic institutions were a key part of the Royal Commission’s public hearings. …….

26. Between January 1980 and February 2015, 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse made to 93 Catholic Church authorities. These claims related to over 1000 separate institutions.

27. The claims survey sought information about the people who made claims of child sexual abuse. Where the gender of people making a claim was reported, 78% were male and 22% were female. Of those people who made claims of child sexual abuse received by religious orders with only religious brother members, 97% were male.

28. The average age of people who made claims of child sexual abuse, at the time of the alleged abuse, was 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys. The average time between the alleged abuse and the date a claim was made was 33 years.

29. The claims survey sought information about alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse. A total of 1,880 alleged perpetrators were identified in claims of child sexual abuse. Over 500 unknown people were identified as alleged perpetrators. It cannot be determined whether any of those people whose identities are unknown were identified by another claimant in a separate claim.

30. Of the 1,880 identified alleged perpetrators:

a. 597 or 32% were religious brothers
b. 572 or 30% were priests
c. 543 or 29% were lay people
d. 96 or 5% were religious sisters.

31. Of all alleged perpetrators, 90% were male and 10% were female.

32. The Royal Commission surveyed 75 Catholic Church authorities with priest members, including archdioceses, dioceses and religious orders about the number of their members who ministered in Australia between 1 January 1950 and 31 December 2010. Ten Catholic religious orders with religious brother or sister members provided the same information about their members.

33. This information, when analysed in conjunction with the claims data, enabled calculation of the proportion of priests and religious brother and sister members of these Catholic Church authorities who ministered in this period and who were alleged perpetrators.

34. Of priests from the 75 Catholic Church authorities with priest members surveyed, who ministered in Australia between 1950 and 2010, 7.9% of diocesan priests were alleged perpetrators and 5.7% of religious priests were alleged perpetrators. Overall, 7% of priests were alleged perpetrators.

35. The Archdiocese of Adelaide and the Dominican Friars had the lowest overall proportion of priests who ministered in the period 1950 to 2010 and were alleged perpetrators, at 2.4% and 2.1% respectively.

36. The following five archdioceses or dioceses with priest members which had the highest overall proportion of priests who ministered in the period 1950 to 2010 and who were alleged perpetrators:

a. 11.7% of priests from the Diocese of Wollongong were alleged perpetrators
b. 13.9% of priests from the Diocese of Lismore were alleged perpetrators
c. 14.1% of priests from the Diocese of Port Pirie were alleged perpetrators
d. 14.7% of priests from the Diocese of Sandhurst were alleged perpetrators
e. 15.1% of priests from the Diocese of Sale were alleged perpetrators.

37. The following five religious orders with priest members had the highest overall proportion of priests who ministered in the period 1950 to 2010 and who were alleged perpetrators:

a. 8.0% of priests from the Vincentians – The Congregation of the Mission were alleged perpetrators
b. 13.7% of priests from the Pallottines – Society of the Catholic Apostolate were alleged perpetrators
d. 17.2% of priests from the Salesians of Don Bosco were alleged perpetrators
e. 21.5% of priests from the Benedictine Community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators.

38. In relation to religious orders with religious brother and sister members, the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and the Sisters of Mercy (Brisbane) had the lowest overall proportions of members who were alleged perpetrators, at 0.6% and 0.3% respectively.

39. The following five religious orders with only religious brother members had the highest overall proportion of religious brothers who ministered in the period 1950 to 2010 and who were alleged perpetrators:

a. 13.8% of De La Salle Brothers were alleged perpetrators
b. 20.4% of Marist Brothers were alleged perpetrators
c. 21.9% of Salesians of Don Bosco brothers were alleged perpetrators
d. 22.0% of Christian Brothers were alleged perpetrators
e. 40.4% of St John of God Brothers were alleged perpetrators.
c. 13.9% of priests from the Marist Fathers – Society of Mary were alleged perpetrators, as distinct from the Marist Brothers.

The St. John of God Brothers were established in Australia in the 1940s by eight men, six of whom were believed to be paedophiles. Brothers Kilian Herbert and Laurence Hartley arrived in Sydney from Ireland on 11 August 1947 to head this small group.

Previous North Coast Voices posts on child sexual abuse can be found here., 6 February 2017:

A brief of evidence concerning historical claims of sexual abuse at the hands of Cardinal George Pell has been delivered to prosecutors for consideration.

Victoria Police confirmed with AAP on Monday night that investigators had delivered the brief to the Office of Public Prosecutions.

It's a significant development in the case since three police travelled to Rome in October to speak with the former Ballarat priest and Melbourne archbishop.

Cardinal Pell now resides full-time at the Vatican. He cited ill-health as a reason he could not travel back to Australia to give evidence in last year's royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, appearing instead via video link.

Allegations emerged in 2015 from two men who said they were groped as children by Cardinal Pell when he was a priest in Ballarat during the 1970s.

Another man claimed he saw the priest expose himself to young boys in the late 1980s.

Cardinal Pell previously released a statement rejecting "all and every allegation of sexual abuse" and would continue co-operating with Victoria Police until the investigation was finalised.

The Northern Star, 7 February 2017:

WEDNESDAY 4.30pm: NEARLY 14% of Lismore's most experienced Catholic priests were accused of sexually abusing children by 2010 but the diocese's spokesman, the Most Reverend Geoffrey Jarrett, has reserved comment.

Between 52 and 64 priests have served in the Diocese of Lismore in each decade since 1950, with 129 priests having served in the area by 2010, detailed data presented to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has shown.

Some 18 of those priests, or 13.9%, have been accused of sexually abusing children throughout their careers, marking Lismore as one of the nation's top five worst dioceses for child sex accusations against the Church.

Too soon to comment: Diocese of Lismore

But Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese Bishop Jarrett, standing in while Bishop-elect Father Gregory Homeming prepares for his ordination, said it was too early to comment publicly on findings.

"My response is that we are in the early days of the Royal Commission's present three week hearing, and until it completes its investigation, it would be premature to comment on the first release of statistics," Bishop Jarrett said via email to The Northern Star.

"We would expect to have a fuller picture and a wider range of issues as time goes on and I will be available for comment at the end of the hearing."

Monday, 18 December 2017

Five years on and the Royal Commission into Insitutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse formally closes

Then Australian Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced her intention to call a royal commission into child sexual abuse on 12 November 2012.

By 11 January 2013 six commissioners had been appointed and on 3 April 2013 the first of fifty-seven public hearings was underway.

These public hearings conducted 57 case studies, 30 of which examined responses to child sexual abuse in religious institutions.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse formally closed on 15 December 2017 when it presented its final report to the Governor-General.

By that time the Royal Commission had heard evidence from nearly 8,000 historic abuse survivors with 6,875 survivors being heard in private sessions, of whom 4,029 (58.6 per cent) spoke about child sexual abuse in religious institutions. 

There were more allegations of child sexual abuse in relation to the Catholic Church than any other religious organisation, followed by the Anglican Church, The Salvation Army and others.  

ABC News created this graph on 15 December 2017:

During the course of its investigation the Royal Commission referred 2,575 matters to authorities, including to police.

The full 17 volume Final Report can be read here.

It is worth noting that the Turnbull Government has introduced a bill allowing child sexual abuse survivors who experienced abuse in government or participating non-government institutions to claim up to $150,000 compensation. 

The Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse commences on 1 July 2018 and operates for ten years. However it intends to deny compensation to any survivors who have have themselves been convicted of sex offences, or sentenced to prison terms of five years or more for crimes such as serious drug, homicide or fraud offences. A measure likely to exclude thousands of child abuse survivors - if the fact that 10.4% of survivors were in prison at the time they were heard in Royal Commission private session is any guide.

It is further noted that elements within the Catholic Church in Australia intend to resist certain recommendation in the Royal Commission's final report - particularly Recommendation 7.4 relating to reporting of child sexual abuse admissions/allegations heard during confession.

Three days after the Royal Commission's final report was published the Diocese of Ballarat gave up the pretence of empathy it donned for the duration of the inquiry and cut hundreds of brightly coloured ribbons off the fence at St Patrick's Cathedral placed there by abuse victims, their friends, families and supporters.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Faith-based institutions involved in 62 per cent of sexual abuse allegations reported to Royal Commission in private session


The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM
Chair, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

It is now almost three years since the Commission held it first public hearing. In that time we have been able to complete the hearings and provide reports to the Governor-General and Governors in 26 case studies. Twenty two of those reports have been publicly released and four await publication by government. A further 13 case studies have been conducted and are at various stages of completion. Reports in those case studies will be provided to government in due course.

I have previously indicated that it is not possible for the Royal Commission to conduct a public hearing in relation to every institution about which we have received allegations of the sexual abuse of children. The Commission has received information about over 4,000 institutions. Because of the impossibility of conducting a public hearing in relation to each of these institutions we have carefully selected the institutions we have publicly investigated with a view to providing the government, the institutions and the public with an understanding of the nature of the problems which we have identified. The case studies have been selected to ensure an appropriate geographical spread and also an appropriate reflection of the type of institution where survivors were abused.

A breakdown of the institutions examined in our public hearings reveals the following. 29 case studies have examined at least one state institution (70% of all case studies). In 11 case studies state institutions were examined as a primary institution. Faith based institutions have been examined in 26 of our case studies (63% of all case studies). Catholic institutions have been examined in 14 case studies (34% of all case studies) and Anglican institutions have been examined in 5 case studies (12% of all case studies).

Today we commence a further hearing in relation to issues in the Catholic Church in NSW. This will be our last hearing dealing with Catholic institutions apart from the final review hearing which will occur next year.

As you will be aware the Commission is closing registrations for private sessions on 30 September this year. The Commissioners have now met with survivors in 5,866 private sessions and a further 1,616 people have been approved for a private session. We expect that by the time the Commission completes its work at the end of next year we will have held more than 7,200 private sessions.

The current breakdown of institutions in which survivors in private sessions state that they have been abused is as follows. 62% of attendees reported abuse in a faith-based institution. Around 27% reported abuse at government-run institutions. Abuse in Catholic institutions was reported by 40% of all private session attendees, abuse in Anglican institutions by 8% of attendees and abuse in Salvation Army institutions by 4% of attendees.

Apart from our work in public hearings and private sessions we have commissioned research across a broad range of issues relevant to the sexual abuse of children in an institutional context. The primary focus of our research has been to identify and document the changes that should be made to the way institutions are structured and governed to ensure so far as possible that children are not abused in the future. As required by our terms of reference we have also been concerned to ensure that the need for a redress response has been considered together with the response of the civil and criminal justice systems to allegations of the abuse of children. We have already published 27 research reports and a further 34 will be published in the near future. Apart from providing a valuable resource for the Commission these reports will be an authoritative source for other research and policy work long after the Commission has completed its final report.

I have previously mentioned that the Commission has worked co-operatively with police. Section 6P of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 authorises a Royal Commission to provide information to the police with respect to possible criminal offences. The Royal Commission has now referred 1,659 matters to police to consider for further investigation with a view to prosecution. Because of the volume of references the resources of the various police forces have been placed under significant pressure. Although I understand a great many references are awaiting investigation. So far prosecutions have been brought against 71 people.

After the present case study has been completed the Commission will turn its attention in a public hearing to harmful sexual behaviours of children within schools. There may be a limited number of future case studies. These will be followed by a series of review hearings in relation to various institutions and selected topics. I anticipate that our final hearing which has been given the working title ‘Nature, Cause and Impact of Child Sexual Abuse’ will focus amongst other matters on the ‘why’ question, and will take place in March 2017.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Does the Catholic Church's great paedophile protection racket continue unabated?


Brisbane Times, 10 March 2018:

The Catholic Church has failed to fully accept the horrific impact of child sexual abuse and its own role in a tragedy of “epic proportions”, a member of the royal commission has said.

In a surprisingly frank speech, Robert Fitzgerald - one of the six commissioners that oversaw the recently completed, five year inquiry - has slammed the church’s approach to abuse survivors, and its failure to tackle practices that contributed to the scourge of abuse and the secrecy around it.

Speaking at a Catholic Social Services Conference in Melbourne late last month, Mr Fitzgerald highlighted the ‘’disease’’ of ‘clericalism’ - the belief that the church’s male-only clergy are mystical beings, accountable to the Pope and to God, not to civil society or church laity.

Mr Fitzgerald, a practising Catholic, described the leadership of the church as "arrogant’’:

"A church that placed its own reputation above the interests of those victims and survivors and did so knowingly and willingly in a way that would cause further harm to those victims.’’

The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, delivered last December, made 400 recommendations to secular and religious institutions.

But already the Catholic church has rejected any changes to celibacy or to the seal of confession.

Archbishop Denis Hart said even if a priest admitted to acts of child abuse during confession, the seal was ‘’inviolable’’. Instead he would encourage the abuser to admit their crimes outside confession.

Mr Fitzgerald, in his speech, described a church divided between those that accepted the evidence of abuse and the need for reform - including a greater role for women - and those conservative Catholics who were "yet to fully understand what has just occurred’’.

He said the church was the only institution he’d ever known to have the answers to such major problems "but refuse in fact to look to those answers, look to those solutions’’.

The scale of abuse recorded by the royal commission across all institutions, secular and religious, was immense, affecting countless, tens of thousands of abused children, most of whom were now adults.

But such abuse was particularly prevalent in Catholic institutions. Nearly 62 per cent of all people who notified the royal commission of abuse in a religious setting were abused in a Catholic institution……

MyAJC, 9 March 2018:

The legislation, dubbed the “Hidden Predator Act,” extends the statute of limitations for victims from age 23 to 38, and creates other avenues for adults to sue long after that age. It passed 170-0 on the floor of the House of Representatives, despite what those close to the process say was quiet lobbying by the church, the Boy Scouts and other entities that would face increased exposure to liability….

The bill’s chief author, Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, had accused them of working behind the scenes. He blames them for amendments that reduced the exposure of organizations, but he had no evidence of their efforts beyond word of mouth until Friday morning. He shared an email with the AJC from the office of the senator whose committee will determine the bill’s fate.

Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. His assistant forwarded Spencer an email from Perry McGuire, a lobbyist for the Catholic Church. McGuire’s amendments would strike the extension of the statute of limitations and make it even more difficult than it is now to sue organizations.

“If they adopt that language from Perry McGuire as a substitute bill, then Georgia will continue to be a predator-friendly state,” Spencer said. It shows “that the Catholic Church is continuing to cover up wickedness.”

Archbishop announces opposition to Georgia HB 605

ATLANTA—Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has released the following letter in response to HB 605, a bill that is under consideration in the current session of the Georgia General Assembly.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

When I am called to stand before our Heavenly Father to make a full and final accounting of my priestly life and ministry, I will first humbly ask His Mercy for all the times I’ve fallen short in my service to Him and to His people. If I’m asked what I did to bring people to Him, I’ll recall the countless Sacraments I’ve celebrated with so many of you, the faith-filled social interactions we have shared, the remarkable opportunities to teach and to lead and to be present during moments of incredible joy and incalculable sorrow.

And when He asks me that for which I am most thankful in my service to His Church, it will have been my work in restoring trust to His people, assuring safe environments in Catholic settings that serve as examples to the wider community, and helping to bring about healing and hope to those in our faith family who have been sexually abused by members of our Catholic clergy – work I still wish more than anything on earth had never been necessary, work that we can never call complete.

In our Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Office of Child and Youth Protection helps us carry on our Promise to Protect and Pledge to Heal by creating and maintaining safe environments and walking alongside survivors of sexual abuse on their journey to healing. The efforts of this office, along with all dioceses in the United States, are audited on a yearly basis by an independent firm who verifies compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Our Victim Assistance director ministers to those who have suffered abuse without question, no matter when or where the abuse took place. Our Office of Safe Environment ensures compliance of all individuals working with children, youth, and vulnerable individuals by offering comprehensive abuse prevention training and background checks. We continue to operate a 24-hour hotline (888-437-0764) for anyone, Catholic or not, who has been abused by a member of the clergy, a man or woman religious, or a lay associate. I am pleased to say our child and youth protection program is among the most robust anywhere – within the Catholic Church or outside it – and our audit record for the past two decades speaks for itself.

With that commitment to safety and healing in mind, I write to inform you of an extraordinarily unfair bill currently pending in our state legislature. If passed, House Bill 605 could drastically damage our ability to carry out the mission of our Catholic Church in the state of Georgia because of the following:

HB 605 would allow lawsuits against churches, private schools, businesses and non-profit organizations for actions asserted to have occurred many decades ago, potentially as far back as the 1940s, and the accused are very often deceased. 

Recognizing that these lawsuits can be very difficult if not impossible to defend, and risking grave injustice, the vast majority of states simply do not permit them.

HB 605 discriminates between the Church and the state. All governmental agencies – park districts, public school districts, care facilities, and so forth – are inexplicably immune from the potential devastating effects of these lawsuits. Churches, religious and private schools, non-profits and businesses are affected.

We have always fully supported criminal prosecution of and lawsuits against any individual abuser of children, no matter how long ago the abuse is alleged to have occurred. Additionally, for the past two decades the Catholic Church in Georgia has had what may be the strongest safe environment program, non-profit or otherwise, in the state. Our Church and our schools have strict zero tolerance policies regarding sexual abuse of any vulnerable person. HB 605 does not protect anyone. Rather, innocent people and the organizations to which they belong will be radically impacted based on allegations against individuals who may no longer even be alive and cannot speak for themselves.

In short, HB 605 represents a policy that is bad for the citizens of Georgia. As your Archbishop, I implore you to contact your state senator and other elected officials to let them know you join me and over one million of your fellow Catholics in opposition to HB 605. Here is a link that will help you locate the state senator in your district.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory
Archdiocese of Atlanta


Independent UK, 20 August 2017:

The Catholic Church and British local authorities have been accused of using a legal loophole to avoid paying compensation to victims of child sex abuse.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, a government agency, has denied some children financial settlements because it said the victims had “consented” to the abuse, a group of charities has warned.

Lawyers representing victims have warned that this line of defence is becoming increasingly common…….

 “No child ever gives their ‘consent’ to being abused, and the increased use of this line of defence, although still quite rare, is worrying,” said Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England. "I have contacted the Ministry of Justice previously and again recently about this issue and the Government should look urgently at what can be done to tackle it.”

The Sunday Telegraph reported that it had seen documents regarding two cases where the defence was used. A claimant who was raped at the age of 15 was told by lawyers representing the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark that his abuse "actually occurred in the context of a consensual relationship (albeit one the claimant in retrospect now appears to regret)".

The victim said "I was below the legal age of consent anyway and there's a grooming element to that kind of situation. It was totally disregarded and it made me feel really small." The case was finally settled, with the Catholic Church paying out £80,000.


The Guardian, 7 March 2018:

Soca is angry about a deal between the Catholic church and the Irish government in 2002 that resulted in the taxpayer footing most of the bill for compensating those abused in religious institutions.

The deal resulted in the church having to pay out €128m of a €1.3bn compensation bill.

Last year, Ireland’s comptroller and auditor general found that only €85m had been paid out of church funds. On top of its criticism of the deal, Soca said the church should at least be forced to pay out in full the agreed €128m.


Newcastle Herald, 11 January 2018:

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse accepted Mr Tapsell’s evidence that for 15 centuries before 1917 church law required child sex offender priests to be stripped of their status as priests and handed over to civil authorities for punishment.

It accepted Mr Tapsell’s evidence that Pope Pius XI in 1922 imposed the first blanket secrecy provisions over Catholic Church child sex cases which stopped reporting to civil authorities; they were expanded by Pope John XXIII in 1962 and Pope Paul VI in 1974, who told bishops there was no room for the exercise of conscience on the matter, and reinforced by the now sainted Pope John Paul II in 1983.

In September, 2014 Pope Francis rejected requests by two United Nations’ human rights committees to abolish the church’s secrecy provisions.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Royal Commission final report on the hell that was the Anglican North Coast Children's Home between 1940 and 1985 and continuing abuse of known adult victims who later sought assistance from the Grafton Diocese

The North Coast Children's Home was set up in Lismore in 1919 to house children who were orphans or wards of the state, or had been abandoned or placed there by their parents. 
We heard evidence of frequent sexual, psychological and physical abuse at the Home between 1940 to 1985.
Former residents, Tommy Campion, CA, CB, CD, CH, CK, CN and two others, told us they were sexually abused by clergy, staff or other residents while living at the Home.

Finding 1: The physical, psychological and sexual abuse suffered by the former residents of the North Coast Children's Home who gave evidence to the Royal Commission had profound, long-lasting impacts on their lives and mental health….

Finding 2: At all relevant times, the North Coast Children's Home was:
* strongly associated with the Anglican Church and its predecessor, the Church of England
* controlled by the Board of Management, including the Rector of St Andrew's Church
Lismore in the Diocese of Grafton….

Finding 3: The Diocese of Grafton initially dealt with Tommy Campion's complaint by
providing a copy of the Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme adopted by the Diocese in
2005. When faced with the group claim, the Diocese changed its response to Tommy
Campion's claim by stating that the Diocese and its Corporate Trustees had no legal
liability for sexual or physical abuse of a child by clergy, staff or other people associated
with the North Coast Children's Home…..

Finding 4: The Diocese of Grafton required group claimants to sign a deed of release
before counselling, acknowledgement, apology or financial settlement would be
provided, except for Tommy Campion, who was already receiving some counselling. This
was inconsistent with the Sydney Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme that the Diocese of Grafton adopted in 2005….

Finding 5: By 10 October 2006, the Diocese of Grafton was not following its own policies
in its handling of the group claim as set out in the:
* Professional Standards Ordinance and Protocol for Dealing with Complaints of
Sexual Abuse, both adopted in 2004
* Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme, adopted in 2005.

Finding 6: Bishop Keith Slater, then Bishop of Grafton, and the Diocese of Grafton should have managed the process under the 2004 Protocol for Dealing with Complaints of
Sexual Abuse when the group claim was being handled between the Diocesan and
claimants' solicitors.

Finding 7: The settlement negotiations on 19 and 20 December 2006 were conducted in
a hostile manner, contrary to the spirit of the 2005 Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme
and the 2004 Protocol for Dealing with Complaints of Sexual Abuse….

Finding 8: The amounts offered to Tommy Campion, CA, CK, CL, CM and CN under the
group claim were substantially lower than if the claim had been resolved under the 2005
Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme that the Diocese of Grafton had adopted. The
Diocese misled Tommy Campion and CA that the scheme would be followed.

Finding 9: In handling the group claim, the Diocese of Grafton did not apply the 2004
Professional Standards Ordinance and Protocol for Dealing with Complaints of Sexual
Abuse. As a consequence, it did not provide a sympathetic and proportionate pastoral
response to the group claimants.

Finding 10: By denying legal liability, on the basis that it did not control the North Coast
Children's Home, and not providing a pastoral response, the Diocese of Grafton's
response had a detrimental effect on abused former residents….

Finding 11: Bishop Keith Slater did not follow the Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme in responding to Tommy Campion….

Finding 12: In 2012, when considering the request from Tommy Campion for information, Bishop Keith Slater acted to protect the interests of the former members of the Home's committee, including an elderly former member….

Finding 13: The Diocese of Grafton received further individual claims from former
residents of the North Coast Children's Home, but it did not deal with them in accordance with the Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme or the settlement of the group claim….

Finding 14: Bishop Keith Slater did not refer either CB's or CC's claims to the Professional Standards Committee, which was contrary to clause 24(1) of the Professional Standards Ordinance 2004.

Finding 15: Between 2006 and 2012, the Primate advised Bishop Keith Slater that:
*  the group claimants should have their complaints properly heard and be offered
counselling and pastoral support
* he should seek out further people who had been abused at the North Coast
Children's Home
* he should inform the police of all criminal allegations which came to his attention
arising out of the North Coast Children's Home.
The bishop did not follow the Primate's advice….

Finding 16: Despite its knowledge of potential claims by 2005, the Diocese of Grafton did not make provision for settling child sexual abuse claims in its annual budgets for 2006, and 2008 to 2012.

Finding 17: Acknowledging that some assets might not be readily available, the Diocese
of Grafton had enough assets either in its name, or in the Corporate Trustees of the
Diocese of Grafton's name, to allow it to settle the claims of child sexual abuse made
between 2005 and 2011 consistent with the Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme it
adopted in 2005.

Finding 18: The Diocese of Grafton did not make any financial provision for professional
standards matters. It prioritised the Clarence Valley Anglican School debt over its
financial obligations under the Protocol for Dealing with Complaints of Sexual Abuse and
the Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme to pay abused former residents of the North
Coast Children's Home between 2007 and 2012….

Finding 19: The dioceses of Grafton and Newcastle could both have taken action in
response to the professional standards matters concerning Reverend Allan Kitchingman,
including his discipline. There was no clear system in place to determine which diocese
would assume responsibility.

Finding 20: From 2003 to 2013, Bishop Keith Slater was aware that Reverend Allan
Kitchingman had been convicted of sexual offences against a child, and had authority to
discipline him. Bishop Slater did not start disciplinary proceedings against the reverend.

Finding 21: From 2004, Reverend Patrick Comben was aware that Reverend Allan
Kitchingman had been convicted of sexual offences against a child but did not start
disciplinary proceedings against him.

Finding 22: In 2002, Archbishop Roger Herft, then Bishop of Newcastle, became aware
that Reverend Allan Kitchingman had been convicted of five counts of indecent assault
of a child at an Anglican home in the Diocese of Grafton. Between August 2002 and
February 2004, he did not start disciplinary proceedings against the reverend.

Finding 23: From 2006 to 2007, Philip Gerber, as Professional Standards Director of
Grafton and Newcastle, was aware that Reverend Allan Kitchingman had been convicted
of sexual offences against a child but did not start disciplinary proceedings against him.

Finding 24: The General Synod recommended guidelines for parish safety in 2009. The
Diocese of Newcastle did not adopt guidelines for managing people of concern until
around October 2013. As a result, there were no guidelines to manage any risk posed by
Reverend Allan Kitchingman's involvement in Newcastle Cathedral until October 2013.

Finding 25: From September 2005 until April 2013, no disciplinary action was taken
against Reverend Campbell Brown by the Diocese of Grafton or the Diocese of
Newcastle. During the same period, the Diocese of Grafton took no disciplinary action
against Reverend Winston Morgan.

Finding 26: From 2011 to 2013, Bishop Keith Slater did not refer allegations of criminal
conduct made by CB and CC to NSW Police. This was inconsistent with the 2004
Professional Standards Ordinance and Protocol for Dealing with Complaints of Sexual

Finding 27: The establishment of the National Register of the Anglican Church is a
positive initiative.

Finding 28: At the time of the hearing, the National Register of the Anglican Church did
not record the names of all people who might need to be registered because various
dioceses have been unable to review all their files to determine whether an entry should
be made….

In 2006, over 40 former residents began a group claim against the Diocese of Grafton. They claimed to have suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse at the Home between 1940 and 1985. Twenty of those claims involved child sexual abuse by clergy, staff, foster parents and others.
On 5 January 2006, Simon Harrison, from the law firm Nicol Robinson Halletts, wrote to Reverend Comben about the claim. Mr Harrison advised that he had instructions to represent 20 former residents who had been abused.
He asked for help identifying some former staff and for some documents related to the Home. Reverend Comben opposed giving this information. He said that he did not want to give the claimants' solicitors 'honorary research assistance'.
On 16 January 2006, Reverend Comben wrote to Peter Roland, from the law firm Foott Law & Co, with instructions to act in the matter for the Church. He asked Mr Roland about raising 'legal cases which deny the liability of an employer for the criminal acts of employees'.
Reverend Comben said that he thought Bishop-in-Council was influenced by a potential claim for $4 million that had been mentioned in the media. He said that
Bishop-in-Council's position was: 'defend it'.
Reverend Comben said he felt 'disappointed' that the matter was proceeding through lawyers. He asked Mr Roland to seek further details so they could give 'a Christian response' along with the legal response.
Mr Roland replied to Mr Harrison seeking more details about the assaults and perpetrators, and said that the Diocese was not a legal entity. He asked which people they proposed to hold liable for the assaults, and on what basis 'given the time which has elapsed'….

It was not until 2013 that the Anglican Church significantly revised its response to former residents of the Home. In May 2013, Ms Hywood, the new acting Registrar, reported to the Primate her concerns about the Diocese of Grafton's handling of claims over the previous six years. She noted that professional standards files were not properly kept or processed, and matters had not been referred to the Professional Standards Director.
Bishop Slater resigned as Bishop of Grafton on 17 May 2013. He issued a media statement apologising for not giving abuse claimants access to the Professional Standards Director.
In September 2013, the Diocese published an apology in several newspapers for the abuse at the Home and its handling of subsequent claims.
In October that year, Bishop-in-Council passed a revised Care and Assistance Scheme. This scheme is not as detailed as the Sydney Care and Assistance Scheme. The Diocese reviewed all claims that had not been investigated under the 2004 Protocol and has offered revised settlements.