The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was so concerned about reparations for the survivors at the heart of its investigations that it published its proposal for a national redress scheme more than two years before it finished its work.
To compensate an estimated 60,000 victims, the commission recommended a top payout of $200,000 - reduced in legislation to $150,000 - and reckoned the overall cost of reparations at $3.5 billion.
The scheme eventually began in mid-2018 and a parliamentary report tabled on Friday reveals that only 6217 people had applied for compensation as at mid-February, with 1196 paid out.
Another 545 applications were on hold because the 284 institutions involved had not joined the scheme.
The report cites witness statements that at least two high-profile churches, the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Churches of Christ, had no intention of joining.
RELEVANT ROYAL COMMISSION AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon is deputy-chair of this committee and fulfilled the same role in a corresponding body during the previous parliament.
Its report, which covered similar territory, was published in April last year.
The federal government says it will "name and shame" organisations that fail to join by the end of this year, but Ms Claydon and others say the best way to bring these bodies to heel is to remove their tax-free status, and any government funding they receive as charities.
Ms McCarthy may have retired but the Herald will continue to pursue these issues, and we say that reparation is an integral component of justice, and that justice delayed is justice denied.
Most of the tens of thousands of survivors of clerical abuse had waited decades to be heard and believed.
They should not wait a second longer than necessary to receive their compensation.
Money is not a perfect salve for deep physical and psychological wounds, but it is the accepted method in our society.
On the basis of the committee's report, a number of institutions appear recalcitrant and reluctant to pay the price of past sins.
They are running out of time and should consider themselves lucky this place and age no longer applies some of the more brutal modes of restitution from history.
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