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Call for Royal Commission on child abuse in Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2012 p 7 November 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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Anglican leaders in Australia have welcomed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s creation of a national Royal Commission to investigate institutional responses to instances of child sexual abuse.

“The Diocese of Sydney expresses its unqualified abhorrence of child abuse, wherever it occurs,” Archbishop Peter Jensen said on 12 November 2012.

“While the terms of reference have yet to be decided, we will work and pray for an outcome that will result in a safer society for the most vulnerable,” Dr Jensen said.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Dr Phillip Aspinall, voiced his support for the Commission also. “Of the nearly 3.6 million Australians who call themselves Anglican, statistically, one in four women and one in eight men are victims of abuse, so it is something that affects our Church on many levels,” he said.

A spokesman for the Primate said: “A decade ago Brisbane Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall called for a national Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. His call was dismissed by the Prime Minister of the time, and also rejected at a state level. Archbishop Aspinall believed then, as he does now, that the evil of child sexual assault needs to be addressed nationally, without fear or favour, respecting only the facts.”

On 12 November, the Prime Minister told reporters that she had asked the Governor General to charter a Royal Commission with wide-ranging powers to investigate church, charitable and state child care institutions as well as the responses of child service agencies and the police to allegations of abuse.

The formation of a Royal Commission comes amidst mounting media pressure in Australia to investigate child abuse committed in institutions such as orphanages, hostels and foster care homes. Last week a senior New South Wales police official accused the Roman Catholic Church of covering up child abuse in its institutions and protecting paedophile priests.

“The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking,” Ms Gillard said at a Canberra press conference.

“These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject.”

“Australians know… that too many children have suffered child abuse, but have also seen other adults let them down – they’ve not only had their trust betrayed by the abuser but other adults who could have acted to assist them but have failed to do so.

“There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil.

“I believe in these circumstances that it’s appropriate for there to be a national response through a Royal Commission,” the Prime Minister said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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