UPDATE: Labor supports giving the royal commission into child sexual abuse more time and money to finish its work and wants the government to do the same.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the commission’s remarkable, painful and difficult work has empowered many people who have previously felt they haven’t had a voice.
The royal commission asked for a two-year extension in its interim report on Monday, delaying its final reporting date until December 2017.
The extra time would cost another $104 million.‘‘If they believe that they need extra time I think that it’s incumbent on the parliament to support this,’’ Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
The commission estimates the additional time will let it hold 3000 extra private sessions and an additional 30 public hearings.Attorney-General George Brandis has been contacted for comment.
THE federal government is being urged to give the royal commission into child sex abuse more time and money to finish its job or risk squandering the opportunity and insulting the victims.
The commission tabled a report yesterday, saying it needs another $104million and an extra two years to do its job and reach more vulnerable groups.
Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan says the inquiry must be given the time and resources it wants.
‘‘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,’’ he said.
‘‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime 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.’’
The commission estimates that by the end of next year it will have completed close to 40 public hearings – of the 70 it has identified as necessary to fulfil its terms of reference. It says the remaining 30 hearings would take another two years to complete.
The extension would also allow for an additional 3000 private sessions, bringing the total number conducted by the commission to 7000.
So far the commission has received allegations of child sexual abuse in more than 1000 individual institutions.
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THE scale of child sexual abuse in Australian institutions could be far wider than expected and the potential for it to happen still exists.
The child sex abuse royal commission also says in its interim report, released yesterday, that it will need to extend its final reporting date by two years to December 2017 to finish its job.
The time extension will allow it to hear from survivors who have never disclosed their abuse to anyone.
The interim report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse comes midway through the time originally set for the final report.
So far the commission has received allegations of child sexual abuse in more than 1000 individual institutions. Sixty per cent of those were faith-based, 18.6 per cent were government-run and 9.7 per cent were secular with the remainder falling into "other" and "unknown" categories.
The commission says child sexual abuse in institutions is widely under-reported, despite legal obligations. Individuals and institutions fail to identify children who have been abused. It says that most prevalence studies are likely to underestimate abuse and child safety, and institutions that operate with accountability only to themselves pose significant risks.
Case studies have shown that many institutions respond to child sexual abuse by holding internal investigations
"This removes both the abuse and the response from external scrutiny," the report says.
It also says mandatory reporting laws in Australia are inconsistent and many people are unaware of their responsibilities under those laws.
The report explains that a priority for the commission is the well-being of survivors who risk being re-traumatised by telling their experiences. Most do not report for 22 years on average after the abuse, and it takes men longer to come forward.
Most alleged perpetrators were male and survivors reported that perpetrators were most commonly members of the clergy followed by teachers.
Among its research projects is an analysis to identify possible sentencing reform for child abusers and it's looking at starting a project into the relationship between child pornography and child sex abuse.
Although it has not made any recommendations, the commission is looking closely at compensation schemes for victims. It says it is yet to reach a view on a national redress scheme for survivors.
"It is likely that we will be able to identify shortcomings in the institutional redress schemes we have considered in detail. We might also recommend some principles of best practice," the report says.
The two-year extension will cost $104 million.
"If the royal commission is not extended, we will not be able to hold a private session for any person who contacts us after September this year," the report says. "This will mean we will not be able to meet the demand generated by our national public awareness campaign." AAP
EXPLOSIVE claims by a Hunter-based detective that the Catholic Church covered up evidence of paedophile priests led to the creation of one of the biggest royal commissions ever in Australia.
The pressure on government to call a national inquiry grew as public outrage gained momentum over Peter Fox’s allegations of a cover-up by the church and police.
When then Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on November 12, 2012 a royal commission into institutional responses to instances and allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia there had already been 300 various child abuse inquiries across three decades – but nothing like this.
On January 11, 2013, Justice Peter McClellan was named head of a six-member panel and by February terms of reference were announced.
The number of commissioners and scope of the inquiry signalled the wide-ranging forensic power this commission would have – it could compel powerful institutions to open their archives and ledgers and powerful people to give evidence.
Most importantly, it would allow thousands of people who had lived with the buried pain of childhood abuse to tell their stories.
Fourteen public hearings have been held in 10 months. They revealed deeply disturbing incidents of child abuse in the institutional pillars of Australian society.
Children were beaten, raped, starved in places run by Catholic and Anglican Church bodies. Homes run by the Salvation Army and the NSW government were hell holes.
The historical abuse was one thing but the commission so far has uncovered systemic failures in child safety practices in contemporary institutions like the YMCA, Scouts Australia, private and public schools.
Finding and recommending solutions will pre-occupy the commission until 2017. AAP
Perpetrators by faith
Salvation Army 3.8%
Other Protestant 1.6%
Uniting Church 1.0%
Other Christian 0.8%
Jehovahs Witness 0.5%
Seventh Day Adventist 0.5%
Churches of Christ 0.3%
Latter-Day Saints 0.1%
Oriental Orthodox 0.1%
Perpertrators by career
Clergy 28.8 5%
Teacher 15.7 %
Care worker 7.2 %
Foster carer 6.7 %
Older child 6.6 %
House master 5.0 %
Ancillary staff 2.9%t
Church-related worker 2.95%
Medical practitioner 2.5 %
Corrective services personnel 2.2 %
Scout master or Guide leader 1.9 %
Peer 1.8 %t
Sporting coach 1.6%
Tutor 11 0.5 %
After-school carer 0.1 %
Preschool carer 0.1 %