Solidarity Justice

The Archdiocese of Sydney – Protection of Children and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

 

Introduction:

The emotional, physical and spiritual safety, well-being and dignity of children is an integral part of the teachings and values of the Catholic Church.  The Archdiocese is wholly committed to ensuring the safety, well-being and dignity of all children, and acknowledges its important legal, moral and spiritual responsibility to create a safe and nurturing environment for those children.

The community has very clear expectations in matters relating to child protection and expects children will be protected from all forms of harm including sexual, physical and psychological harm, ill treatment and neglect.

The Archdiocese supports these expectations and strives to promote the safety and protection of children and other vulnerable persons in its care.

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse:

The Archdiocese has for a long time been very clear in acknowledging the problem of sexual abuse, the pain victims and families have experienced and the deep concern this has caused among Catholics and the wider community.

Sexual abuse of children is a shameful and serious crime. Serious mistakes have been made in the past however the church has been working for a number of years to improve our response to sexual abuse. A significant break was made in 1996 with the establishment of Towards Healing, the national process established by the Australian bishops and religious orders which the Archdiocese follows. We recognise the police are best placed to investigate sexual abuse allegations. Towards Healing requires allegations of criminal conduct to be reported to the police and other authorities. Since it was established there have been two independent reviews in 1999-2000 and 2008-09.

In November 2012 the Archdiocese welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Archdiocese has also been very clear and consistent in its response, maintaining that prevention, justice and healing for the victims of sexual abuse always come first.

Key Principles

  • The victims of sexual abuse are our first priority
  • Preventing abuse and protecting people
  • Sexual abuse is a crime which must be reported to police
  • No protection of abusers and no cover-ups.