Minggu, 17 Agustus 2014

Child sex abuse royal commission: Catholic Church*s *Melbourne response* in the spotlight (ABC)

Demonstrators gather outside the County Court as the child abuse royal commission moves to Melbourne today.ABC Demonstrators gather outside the County Court as the child abuse royal commission moves to Melbourne today.

The Catholic Church's so-called Melbourne response to allegations of child sexual abuse by its clergy will be the subject of royal commission hearings for the next fortnight.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hear from victims of sexual abuse and Catholic Church representatives, including Cardinal George Pell via teleconference from the Vatican.

The commission has received more than 15,000 calls for help since January 2013, with almost 3,000 of those calls coming from Victoria.

More than 2100 private counselling sessions have been held, including 578 in Victoria.

The Melbourne response, introduced by Cardinal Pell when he was Melbourne Archbishop in 1996, was a first of its kind.

The scheme allowed anyone allegedly abused by priests or others under the authority of the Archbishop to have what the church called "an independent commissioner" to investigate their claims and make findings.

Compensation from the scheme was capped at $75,000, a subject of contention among victims and their advocates.

Christine Foster, the mother of victims of Catholic Church abuse, will be the first witness to take the stand this morning.

Two of Christine and Anthony Foster's daughters were assaulted by a Catholic priest while in primary school. One has subsequently committed suicide.

The family participated in the Melbourne Response but withdrew and commenced litigation.

After an eight-year legal battle, the family negotiated a settlement, believed to be the largest compensation payout of its kind in Australia.


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