News

Child abuse probe will 'take as long as it takes' says PM

A ROYAL Commission to investigate child sexual abuse in Australian institutions has been welcomed as a long overdue initiative to tackle the secret crime.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the Commission on Monday, while the specific terms of reference for the inquiry would be completed before the end of the year.

Amid much speculation the inquiry could run for up to a decade, Ms Gillard said it would run for "as long as it takes".

Adults Surviving Child Abuse president, Dr Cathy Kezelman, said the Royal Commission was long overdue.

"We've been calling for an inquiry into child sexual abuse for many years," she said.

"It's especially important this inquiry look at the institutions where these crimes happen, including those institutions accepting such crimes.

"It's a very secret crime and often there are no witnesses - it affects young children profoundly and is often still hurting them as adults."

Dr Kezelman said the stigma associated with sexual abuse and the fear instilled in victims was so strong; she believed the reported levels were much lower than the real figure in the community.

"It is a most pervasive crime, and the Catholic Church especially does have a very poor record when it comes to dealing with these issues from an institutional perspective," she said.

"Basically, they've accepted and moved around perpetrators and most of those have never been brought to justice - and there's 40 suicides in Ballarat that are testament to that."

The only comparable Royal Commission on the issue in a Western nation was conducted in Ireland and took nine years to complete.

Dr Kezelman said the commission should look to report in about two years, even if it was an interim report for immediate action before a fuller report in the future.

She said irrespective of any compensation offered to victims, nothing could compensate for the lifetime affliction childhood sexual abuse causes.

She said what she would like to see was a complete, comprehensive investigation, as well as a far-reaching apology to all victims.

While Dr Kezelman highlighted the Catholic Church, the Pope's top representative in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, said it was time to separate the "fact from fiction".

Cardinal Pell said the church was not interested in denying the extent of wrong-doing within the organisation, but the Church had also been a victim of a media campaign against it.

He said various procedural changes had been made to the church's internal response to claims of sexual abuse since the 1997 Wood Royal Commission.

"I don't think we should be scapegoated - we'll answer to what we've done.

"We're not trying to defend the indefensible; but right across the board, we'll see what we'll see," he said.

"We've been unable to convince public opinion we've been serious about this."

Cardinal Pell broadly welcomed the inquiry, stressing it should not focus singularly on the Catholic Church, but all institutions where child abuse was recognised.

The government will consult with the public, as well as church and community leaders, victims and support groups, likely early next year.

To keep up to date on the commission, call the national call centre on: 1800 099 340.

Alternatively, email: royalcommissionsecretariat@pmc.gov.au

Topics:  australia, child abuse, julia gillard, royal commission, sexual abuse



Ipswich pound tender documents reveal $200K condition

The Ipswich pound and rehoming centre will be run by RSPCA after September 30.

RSPCA to charge council if a new centre isn't built

Storms are coming! What it means for your long weekend

Yes, it's going to affect your long weekend

Flights resume as Bali ash cloud clears

Tourists are finding themselves caught in Bali, or unable to fly, after a volcanic ash cloud developed over the Indonesian island.

Jetstar was forced to cancel seven flights on Tuesday

Local Partners

Katy Perry gets naked to encourage people to vote

Katy Perry in Funny Or Die sketch

Katy Perry has stripped naked for a comedy video

Jogging Tom Hanks crashes wedding in Central Park

Tom Hanks stopped for a selfie with this bride and groom

MOVIE REVIEW: Storks delivers family fun

A scene from the movie Storks.

ANIMATION can be hit or miss but when it hits, it hits hard.

Nick 'the snake' to call the shots on Survivor jury

Australian Survivor contestant Nick Iadanza.

LATEST evictee is out of the game but will still have a say.

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber split

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have split after 11 years together.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Housing report points to a lift in local market

AFFORDABLE HOMES: First home buyers have the opportunity to purchase modern new homes in the Ipswich region for under $400,000.

Region shaping up as the "final frontier” for affordable housing

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.