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Melbourne archbishop testifies before Parliamentary commission on abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2013, p 6. May 2, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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A culture of denial had hindered the Church’s handling of child sex abuse cases, the Archbishop of Melbourne told a parliamentary committee last week. On 22 April Dr Philip Freier said that “as you look backwards you can see broadly as a culture we’ve not readily listened to children when they’ve made complaints.

“There have been opportunities for people who wanted to breach the trust of children to do that, and often for children’s accounts of that trust being broken, being disbelieved,” he said adding that some victims were “even punished for having raised a question about the conduct of an adult.”

The diocese had received 46 complaints of child sex abuse since the 1950s, the Archbishop said, and had paid out $268,000 in compensation to 10 victims since 2003, but only reported 12 of the 46 complaints to police.

Dr Freier told the committee of the reforms instituted by the Church since the implementation of a professional standards practices regime in 1994. In his concluding remarks he spoke of the church’s abhorrence for abuse and its zero-tolerance about the issue. The archbishop apologized for the pain and misery that such abuse has caused both victims and the broader community and welcomed the Inquiry as a way in which that confidence might begin to be restored in the church.

Abuse inquiry for Melbourne: The Church of England Newspaper, May 6, 2012 p 7. May 14, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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The premier of Victoria has launched a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of sexual abuse complaints lodged against churches.  The 17 April 2012 press statement said “a focus of the inquiry will be on identifying reforms that can and should be put in place to better protect children and ensure that instances of abuse are responded to properly and effectively. In doing so, the inquiry will have the power to consider evidence of past policies, practices and abuse.”

The announcement said the Victoria Coalition government had “decided to establish the inquiry after giving careful consideration to the report and recommendations” the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry.  “It is clear that there have been a substantial number of established complaints of sexual abuse of children by those who have taken advantage of positions of authority. This abuse has had traumatic consequences for victims and their families.”

The Diocese of Melbourne said it would give the inquiry its full cooperation and welcomed “this step to provide the community with confidence that churches and religious organisations will handle allegations of abuse with the utmost seriousness and concern, and with the best possible practices, policies and protocols for handling allegations of abuse, and for providing appropriate care for the victims of abuse.”

Prosecutors have lodged an appeal against the ten year term of imprisonment sentence handed down to a former church youth worker in Australia.

Last month the Director of Public Prosecutions in Newcastle, Australia announced his intention to appeal the sentence of James Michael Brown, 60, a former youth work and member of the staff of St Alban’s Boys’ Home in Aberdare, he pled guilty to charges that he molested 13 boys aged 11 to 17 from 1974 to 1996.  The indictment includes 38 charges of sodomy and 60 indecent assault charges.

In a statement released after Mr. Brown’s in 2010, Newcastle Bishop Brian Farran confirmed Mr. Brown had worked for the diocese in the 1970s and early 1980s in a variety of duties, including youth work and as a carer at the St Alban’s Home.  The diocese had assisted the police with their inquiries and was ‘‘strongly committed to addressing the issue of current and historical child sexual abuse in the church,” the bishop said.

A hearing has been scheduled for August to review the sentence.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.