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Australian Greens Call for Royal Commission into Child Abuse in Catholic Church

Media Release
Christine Milne 11 Nov 2012

It is time the Federal Government set up a Royal Commission into child abuse in the Catholic Church, and The Australian Greens will call on the Government to establish one when the Senate resumes,Senator Christine Milne said today.

"With unprecedented claims by senior police that evidence is being destroyed or suppressed within the Church and that inquiries are being hampered, a national Royal Commission is needed to address what Cardinal Pell has described as a cancer."

"Whereas the criminal justice system investigates individual complaints, the coercive powers of a national Royal Commission are needed to examine the systemic failings that have allowed the Church to cover up and hide this abuse over decades by moving the problem state to state."

"How is it that senior clergy have been able to transfer priests and brothers to other schools often interstate rather than report alleged abuse to the police and how is it that those senior clergy are rarely brought to account?

"The culture in families where the word of a child is not believed against that of a religious figure or where the Church puts pressure on families not to go to the police has allowed the abuse to continue."

"It has resulted in family estrangement and agony for victims over decades. The victims of abuse need this Royal Commission and whilst it will be painful, it is the victims who have been at the forefront of pursuing it."

"There are so many wonderful selfless people in the Church who dedicate their lives to the service of others, they deserve to have the cloud that hangs over the Church removed by a full investigation."

Prime Minister Gillard and Tony Abbott must recognize that an institution that is national needs a national response since records pertaining to individuals or senior clergy and what they knew at the time may be held in other jurisdictions, beyond the state holding an Inquiry."

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