Thai cops search tem­ple for wanted monk

The Borneo Post - - FRONT PAGE -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralia’s Catholic Church has paid A$ 276$ mil­lion ( US$ 213 mil­lion) in com­pen­sa­tion to thou­sands of child abuse vic­tims since 1980, a gov­ern­ment in­quiry heard yes­ter­day the first time the to­tal com­pen­sa­tion paid by the church’s schools, or­phan­ages and res­i­dences has been re­vealed.

A re­port at a royal com­mis­sion into in­sti­tu­tional abuse said 3,066 vic­tims had re­ceived some form of com­pen­sa­tion from a Catholic body in the 35 years to 2015.

Cash pay­ments of A 258.8 mil­lion amounted to an av­er­age A 91,000 per per­son. Some com­pen­sa­tion was in non- cash pay­ments.

The in­sti­tu­tion which paid the most was global or­der the Chris­tian Broth­ers, which paid A 45.5 mil­lion to 763 peo­ple, av­er­ag­ing A 61,000 per per­son. The Je­suits paid the most per com­plainant, at A 257,000 each, on av­er­age.

The av­er­age time be­tween a per­son ex­pe­ri­enc­ing abuse and fil­ing a com­plaint was 33 years, state pros­e­cu­tor Gail Fur­ness said

There’s been so much vari­ance in how the pro­cesses have been con­ducted, what of­fers have been made, it shows me that we need a con­sis­tent sys­tem such as the na­tional re­dress scheme to ac­tu­ally make this just for sur­vivors.

in the re­port, adding that “many sur­vivors face bar­ri­ers which de­ter them from re­port­ing abuse to au­thor­i­ties and to the in­sti­tu­tion in which the abuse oc­curred”.

The royal com­mis­sion, Aus­tralia’s high­est most pow­er­ful type of in­quiry which can com­pel wit­nesses and rec­om­mend pros­e­cu­tions, has pre­vi­ously heard that seven per­cent of priests work­ing in Aus­tralia be­tween 1950 and 2010 were ac­cused of child sex crimes, but few were pur­sued.

The re­port was based on anal­y­sis of data kept by Catholic Church au­thor­i­ties.

The royal com­mis­sion has been roundly praised by vic­tim ad­vo­cates as the most com­pre­hen­sive pub­lic in­quiry into child abuse. It is due to re­port back to the gov­ern­ment in De­cem­ber.

Last year, Aus­tralia’s most se­nior Catholic, Car­di­nal Ge­orge Pell, said the church had made ‘enor­mous mis­takes’ and ‘cat­a­strophic’ choices by re­fus­ing to be­lieve abused chil­dren, shuf­fling abu­sive priests from parish to parish and over-re­ly­ing on coun­selling of priests to solve the prob­lem.

Vic­tim ad­vo­cates yes­ter­day said the wide range in com­pen­sa­tion by 1,049 Catholic in­sti­tu­tions meant man­age­ment of abuse com­pen­sa­tion should be han­dled by the gov­ern­ment.

“There’s been so much vari­ance in how the pro­cesses have been con­ducted, what of­fers have been made, it shows me that we need a con­sis­tent sys­tem such as the na­tional re­dress scheme to ac­tu­ally make this just for sur­vivors,” said He­len Last, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of In Good Faith Foun­da­tion Ltd, which rep­re­sents 460 abuse vic­tims.

“It’s a pic­ture of great un­fair­ness and in­equity be­tween sur­vivors across Aus­tralia de­pend­ing on where they placed their claim.”

The na­tional gov­ern­ment has said it will start a A$ 4.3 bil­lion re­dress scheme for vic­tims in 2018, but some vic­tim groups have com­plained the scheme will work on an “opt in” ba­sis, mean­ing it can­not force or­gan­i­sa­tions to co­op­er­ate.

A spokesman for So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter Chris­tian Porter, who is over­see­ing the com­pen­sa­tion scheme, de­clined to com­ment on the royal com­mis­sion but said an ad­vi­sory coun­cil had started work set­ting up the scheme.

He­len Last, In Good Faith Foun­da­tion Ltd chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer

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