NO ONE should condone the sexual abuse /harm of a child. However, last Wednesday’s reference by Jay Nauss to “child abuse” and the concern expressed about the use of taxpayers’ moneys to support a culprit religious institution is ill conceived and lacking in an understanding of what has occurred.
Makes one wonder as to what is the real motivation of such a letter – is it “fake news”?
Turning to the facts – on October 26 this year, the Minister for Social Services, C. Porter, introduced legislation for the establishment of a Commonwealth Redress Scheme. The Federal Government’s 2017-18 budget committed an initial amount of $33.4 million to meet the scheme’s establishment costs and is intended to provide survivors with a monetary payment, psychological counselling and, if requested, a direct personal acknowledgement and response from the responsible institution.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had estimated there were 4000 institutions across Australia where child sexual abuse happened. About half involved schools or homes run by various Catholic institutions; 500 were run by the Anglican Church; 250 by the Salvation Army; and the remaining institutions included other church groups as well as bodies such as the Australian Defence Force, Australian Institute of Music, football (soccer), cricket, tennis and swimming associations.
The Federal Government is using taxpayer moneys to cover 1000 victims abused in commonwealth and territory institutions. As the Minister for Social Services has pointed out by joining the redress scheme, all state and territory governments and non-government institutions would be providing equal access for survivors to all three redress elements on a “responsible-entity pays” basis, in accordance with the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
Institutions such as the Catholic Church in Australia have publicly acknowledged their support for all government and non-government institutions to be held accountable and to take responsibility for providing redress to those people who were harmed in their care. In other words, an institution that opts-in has to fund the cost of their own redress claims.
Other church bodies such as the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Salvation Army, Uniting Church and ACC-Pentecostal all support