news reports and informative articles:

Ten years' jail for priest who raped boy to gratify 'depraved desires'

By Amber Wilson

The Age, April 1, 2019 — 10.43am

Victorian student priest Paul Pavlou made a seemingly kind offer of respite when his best friend was dying of cancer and his wife worked three jobs to support their six children.

But Pavlou used the opportunity to repeatedly rape his dying friend's 12-year-old son.

Paul Pavlou.

Paul Pavlou.

Pavlou, now 59, was jailed for 10 years in the County Court on Monday for his 2003 and 2004 crimes, described as "callous to the family's plight".

"[The victim's] family looked to you as a figure of learning, a mentor, and a person who could be trusted implicitly," Judge Greg Lyon said.

"Your acts deserve utter condemnation.

"Your abuse of [the] family's trust and your callousness in taking advantage of their dire situation in order to meet your lascivious and depraved desires is utterly disgraceful. Your supposed calling as a priest can only be seen as a part of this whole sham."

The court was told Pavlou would stay at his friend's family home, invite the boy over to his house and take him out to activities.

After the attacks, Pavlou would tell the victim he loved him, he was a "special child" and "child of God".

"Your offences in the family home were just brazen," Judge Lyon said.

"It says something of your ability to delude yourself that you were able to take your ordination vows knowing you had committed these horrendous offences."

The victim reported the rapes to police 13 years later, but Pavlou initially claimed he couldn't recall molesting the boy.

He later pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16.

His victim, now an adult, previously told the court he cried himself to sleep for years after the "evil" crimes.

"To betray your dying best friend [and his partner] ... by raping their young son is one of the most evil acts I've ever heard of ... even worse than murder," the man told the court via video link last week.

After he was ordained, Pavlou was charged with molesting an altar boy and possessing child pornography after 90 images of pubescent and adolescent boys were found on his computer.

He told police at the time he had clicked on pop-ups and accidentally downloaded the images to his computer, and the altar boy had set him up.

Judge Lyon said Pavlou still had "little or no insight" into his offending.

Pavlou, who has already served 203 days in custody, must serve a minimum of seven years before being eligible for parole.

He is declared a serious sex offender and will be on the sex offender's register for life.



By Nick McKenzie

The Age August 10, 2009 — 12.00am

MELBOURNE'S Catholic Church is under pressure to overhaul its handling of sexual abuse cases after revelations that a priest accused of abusing a minor was told beforehand that he was the subject of a covert police probe, undermining the investigation.

The pressure is likely to intensify amid claims from the Catholic Vicar- General, Bishop Les Tomlinson, that there exists a sexual abuse ''victims' industry'' that seeks to exploit victims' suffering to make money.

The priest who was told of a police investigation is the now-convicted sex offender Paul Pavlou. Pavlou was informed of the police inquiry by a church-appointed investigator in July 2007, only days after his victim's lawyer requested that the priest not be told of the investigation. Three weeks later, police raided Pavlou's house and discovered the priest's computer had been wiped. They also found a letter warning him of their inquiry.

The Age's investigation into the Melbourne Archdiocese's system of handling sexual abuse cases - known as the Melbourne Response - can also reveal that St Patrick's Cathedral's July newsletter named as a ''living treasure'' a priest who - according to the church's own investigator - had sexually abused at least three women, including a former nun. The former nun, Catherine Arthur, has said the naming of James Barry Whelan as ''living treasure'' was deplorable, while the archdiocese has said it was the result of a mistake and has apologised.

In another case, a victim of a pedophile priest had questioned why the church-appointed investigator warned him only after interviewing him - rather than before - that the interview could be used in any future court cases. Lawyers for pedophile priest Terence Pidoto later used the interview to question the victim in court.

Thirteen sexual abuse victims have formed a collective - which includes families and advocates and is backed by two interstate bishops - calling for a review of the so-called Melbourne Response.

The Melbourne Response was set up by archbishop George Pell in 1996 and has handled about 450 cases. Its inquiry arm is headed by a church-appointed barrister and respected Queen's Counsel, Peter O'Callaghan, while its compensation panel has offered up to $55,000 to about 280 abuse victims. All but six have accepted the pay-out.

In dismissing claims that the Melbourne Response is sometimes intimidating, flawed and in need of review, Bishop Tomlinson told The Age: ''You could perhaps draw a conclusion that there is what could be termed a victims' industry … willing to exploit these victims for their own gain.''

Asked who was in the industry, Bishop Tomlinson said: ''I think that is apparent enough … I am not saying the victims' support groups per se are suspect but I would also be saying there is the scope for an abuse to occur there.''

In a letter to the victims' collective, retired Sydney bishop Geoffrey Robinson, who headed the Australian church's response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the 1990s, said that ''a thorough review of the Melbourne Response … (was) most timely''.

''I have over the years heard a number of reports of victims feeling intimidated by the system itself. These feelings need to be heard and addressed,'' Bishop Robinson said.

Newcastle bishop Michael Malone has told the victims' collective that ''I applaud your initiative'' and that he would not excuse a church ''which refuses to listen or admit there is fault''.

The Age's investigation into the handling of the Pavlou case by the church can reveal:

? A church official disclosed to the victim's mother during a taped interview in late 2006 that ''because he [your son] is the youngest person who has come through the process we are feeling our way a bit and we don't want to make it such a big issue … like if he [your son] has got it under control. So we are learning as we go here.''

? The victim's mother was not told for three months by church investigators about some of the allegations her 15-year-old son had made about the priest's inappropriate behaviour.

? Pavlou was told about the police probe after his victim's lawyer, Paul Holdway, asked Mr O'Callaghan not to tell the priest about the police inquiry.

After he was told this, Mr O'Callaghan wrote to Pavlou's lawyers and told them that ''apparently the police are considering the matter''.

Mr O'Callaghan has defended his decision to tell Pavlou's lawyers of the police probe, saying he needed to tell the priest that his own inquiry, in which a hearing was imminent, would have to stop.

''I was informed by the solicitors for [the victim] that the matter has been referred to the police with the inevitability that I would have to abstain from taking any further steps in the matter. I had no option but to inform the solicitors for Father Pavlou as to why the matter would not be proceeding," Mr O'Callaghan said. ''I did not believe, or had any apprehension, that I would be jeopardising a police investigation.''

Police were not consulted about the decision to tell Pavlou about their investigation.

Last month, Pavlou was given an 18-month suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent acts with the teenager and of possessing child pornography.

Mr O'Callaghan has also defended his decision not to encourage the teenage victim to contact police because the barrister considered the priest's conduct ''inappropriate, equivocal and suspicious'' but not criminal. However, two of the allegations made by the victim to Mr O'Callaghan in March 2007 later formed the basis of the ''indecent act'' charges.

Mr O'Callaghan also defended the delay in telling the victim's mother about some of the teenager's allegations because the victim had asked that she not be told.


By a Broken Rites researcher

A Catholic priest, Father David Daniel, repeatedly committed sexual crimes on children throughout his 20-year career as a priest, the Melbourne County Court was told. Parents complained to the church authorities but the church ignored the crimes until some of the victims finally began to speak to detectives in the Victoria Police sex crime squad. Finally, Father Daniel was brought to justice, by the police, not by the church. Thus, the church's cover-up was exposed. This article is the most comprehensive account available about the Father David Daniel cover-up.

David Daniel (born on 19 September 1942) was ordained for the Melbourne archdiocese in 1975, aged 32 (i.e., a mature-age entrant). One victim (born in 1966) told the court that Daniel began abusing him at the age of six (i.e., about 1972 or so, which would have been before the priest's ordination). Thus, the diocese ordained a sexually-active priest — and then inflicted him upon unsuspecting parishioners under the halo of "celibacy".

The total number of Daniel's victims is not known but police located six — four boys, one girl and one adult male. For court purposes, the prosecution specified 18 assaults between 1978 and 1994 but these were not the only abusive incidents. Two of the victims were abused for up to four years and one for 16 years.

The charges included: 16 counts of indecent assault, gross indecency, and indecent acts involving children (i.e., Daniel touching the children indecently, or forcing them to touch him indecently, or him performing indecent acts on himself in a child's presence); one charge of sexual penetration involving a 16-year-old boy in the priest’s custody (the priest performed oral sex on the boy); and one charge of indecently assaulting an adult male.

Most of the 18 charges relate to the 1990s, some as recently as 1994 (Daniel's final year in parish work).

In the Melbourne County Court on 14 July 2000, Judge Mervyn Kimm officially classified Daniel, then aged 57, as a Serious Sexual Offender under the Crimes Act and sentenced him to six years' jail, eligible for parole after 4 years 6 months.

The priest's history

Representatives of Broken Rites were present in court during the trial, supporting the victims.

Broken Rites has compiled the following account from the court proceedings.

Seven of the charged assaults (involving three victims) occurred during 1975-86 while Daniel worked as an Assistant Priest at Newport, East Brighton and Mount Waverley (all in metropolitan Melbourne). Daniel used to visit an elderly relative of his in Melbourne's south-east, who would have one or other of her grandchildren staying with her during school holidays. The children's parents and grandmother assumed that a "celibate" Catholic priest would be trustworthy.

The assaults occurred either in a child's bedroom, or while a pyjama-clad child was watching television with the priest in a darkened lounge room, or while a child was having a shower.

Victim 1 was "BRIAN". Brian said in court that, in fact, Daniel's sexual abuse of him began at the age of 6 (in 1972-3) and continued on countless occasions during 16 years to the age of 22 (in 1988) but, for court purposes, only four of these assaults (at age 12, in 1978) were charged. Daniel warned Brian to keep quiet about the abuse or "you won’t go to heaven".

Victim 2 was "PAUL" (a cousin of Brian), in 1980, then aged 6 (two incidents). Paul stated: "I didn’t question what he was doing because he is a priest, a figurehead of the Catholic Church."

Victim 3 was "MARY" (a cousin of Brian and Paul), in 1982-3, then aged 9 (one incident). After the assault began, the girl managed to flee.

The church knew

The children's parents became aware of these incidents. E.g., Brian said his abuse was revealed about 1988. The children's parents complained to Daniel's superiors but not to the police. Therefore, the church retained Daniel in the ministry.

Daniel spent the late 1980s as a military chaplain, residing at the Camberwell presbytery (in Melbourne's east) under supervision but in 1990 he was dispatched to be in charge of the remote Healesville parish, 64 km from Melbourne — i.e., out of sight and unsupervised.

Victim 4 was "JIM" (a cousin of Victims 1-3). Jim's family sent him to stay with Daniel at the Healesville presbytery during school holidays in 1990 when he was aged 12. Daniel "massaged" Jim sexually and threatened him not to tell anyone. Jim stated: "I was scared because I was away from home and I had no car or means of getting home."

Jim's gullible family forced the boy to stay with Daniel again every year for more holidays — and for more assaults (nine charges). This culminated in Daniel performing oral sex on Jim at age 16 in January 1994. Then Jim got a part-time job and made himself too busy for his family to force him back to Daniel again.

At Healesville, Daniel "trained" about 30 altar boys. One of these was Victim 5, "SAUL". During 1990-4, from age 10 to 14, Saul idolised Daniel and wanted to become a priest. Saul's "training" included sexual assaults by Father Daniel, and the prosecution charged Daniel with the final assault which occurred in November 1994, when Saul was 14. As usual, Daniel always ordered Saul to remain silent. During this period, Daniel hypocritically performed the baptism ceremony of Saul's baby sister.

In December 1994, Daniel assaulted Victim 6 ("GREG"), a young Healesville adult. Daniel had befriended Greg's family for two years, and Greg used to go to Daniel for Confession. Then, one night, Daniel enticed Greg to the presbytery for a drink and started to maul Greg sexually.

Greg fled and told his parents, who quickly complained to the diocesan authorities. The diocese admitted they already knew that Daniel was an offender but they had not removed him. That is, the diocese had knowingly and negligently had left Daniel in parish ministry, enabling him to assault Greg and Saul.

Following the Greg revelation, Daniel knew the game was up. He wrote to the diocese, resigning from his parish as from Christmas 1994, citing "bad health".

At this time, a parishioner ("Polly", who is the mother of Victim 5, Saul), was doing some typing for Father Daniel. Polly typed the resignation letter but she did not know that Daniel was a child-abuser or that her son was a victim. She presumed that Daniel's departure was because of financial misappropriation, not bad health. (The parish finances, tightly controlled by Daniel, languished while Daniel was there but they improved after he left.)

Before leaving, Daniel did some final transactions in the parish bank accounts, then vanished. The diocese propagated the "bad health" story and neglected to inform his former parishes that he had been a risk to their children.

Daniel finally rented a flat in Upwey (in Melbourne's east). The defence said the diocese was still paying Daniel a rent allowance for this in mid-2000. That is, the diocese continued supporting a sex offender, even after he initially pleaded guilty in April 1999.

About 1997, the "devout" grandmother of Victims 1-4 died, thereby removing the victims' reluctance about going to the police. Victim 4 (Jim) made a police statement, and detectives soon gathered more evidence. In 1998, detectives arranged for Jim to phone Daniel. In a tape recording of the conversation, played in court, Daniel admitted that he had done "silly things".

Detectives raided Daniel's flat and found pornographic materials. The mother of one victim said it was well known, when Daniel moved from Camberwell to Healesville in 1990, that he had a porn collection but Daniel's superiors did not care.

Meanwhile, after 1994, Victim 5 (Saul) developed into a troubled teenager. This distressed and puzzled his parents until, in April 1999, he disclosed Daniel’s sexual abuse. Saul later made a police statement.

Court proceedings

In April 1999, Daniel was formally charged in the Melbourne Magistrates Court regarding Victims 1-4. He pleaded guilty. However, while waiting to be sentenced by a County Court judge, Daniel changed his plea to "not guilty".

This necessitated a jury trial, held in April 2000. During jury selection [when Broken Rites was present in court], Daniel vetoed the inclusion of a woman who was a school-children's crossing supervisor and another woman who was a personal care attendant in a nursing home.

The prosecution submitted that the earlier "guilty" plea was an admission of guilt.

The jury (6 males, 6 females) convicted Daniel on all 16 counts for Victims 1-4. Daniel then opted to plead guilty regarding Victims 5 and 6.

Daniel requested a lenient sentence and submitted a "character" reference from Bishop Hilton Deakin, the auxiliary bishop in charge of Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

Sentencing Daniel concerning all six victims on July 14, Judge Kimm described Daniel as an "utter disgrace" who had grossly breached his position of trust and lacked remorse. He said Daniel's status and authority as a Catholic priest assisted him in the commission of the crimes. He said all the victims had been emotionally damaged by the crimes.

Outside the court, Victim 5 ("Saul", aged 20) gave radio-news interviews (arranged by Broken Rites), which were networked throughout Victoria. Saul blamed the Catholic Church for the damage done to his teenage development.

The above report is compiled from notes taken in court by Broken Rites. This article is the most comprehensive report on the Daniel Case. The case was also reported, although briefly, in the Melbourne Age and Herald Sun on 15 July 2000.

A parishioner's view

After David Daniel went to jail, What did the church authorities do to help the families of the Healesville parish? Well, not much, apparently.

A parishioner told Broken Rites in 2007:

"After David Daniel went to jail, the Melbourne archdiocese was slow to offer help to the affected families. Some parish activists urged the church authorities to call a general meeting of the parish's families. The church authorities eventually (and grudgingly) called a meeting but the meeting was deliberately not widely advertised or discussed. The meeting was not talked about from the pulpit. The meeting was merely mentioned in a small footnote on the parish bulletin as a meeting specifically for those who had been 'affected'.

"Thus, other families whose children had been consistently at risk to David Daniel (and some whose sons eventually did disclose to them) did not think the meeting was for them.

"The meeting was attended by four families, plus several other people.

"A woman from the Melbourne Catholic education office attended the meeting on behalf of the archdiocese. She told the meeting that the David Daniel matter has happened and that everybody should get on with their lives. She offered to arrange counselling for those present but she was not interested in the fact that many others needed to be informed.

"I believe that the meeting should have provided information to all families, who had been exposed to David Daniel, because it is common for young victims to remain silent about their abuse or to deny abuse when they are first questioned about it.

"The parish hushed up everything. No one reached out to the families of other possible victims, and some families just stopped coming to church.

"Some former students at the Healesville parish school were often taken from their classroom by David Daniel to serve on the altar or 'do jobs' — and some of these young people now have personal problems, such as substance abuse and anger issues. We can't know who has been harmed by David Daniel and who hasn't but their parents have been given nothing to help them understand or respond.

"Much more needs to be done to ensure that the pastoral response to clergy abuse in parishes is improved or else the abuse might continue under a different, subsequent offender."


Broken Rites checked through annual editions of the Australian Catholic Directory to compile this list of Father Daniel's parishes from 1977 onwards:

  • Late 1970s: Assistant at Sacred Heart parish, Newport.
  • Early 1980s: Assistant at St Finbar's parish, Brighton East; and later at St Andrew's parish, Werribee.
  • Mid 1980s: Assistant at Holy Family parish, Mount Waverley (from July 1983).
  • Late 1980s: Served as a chaplain for the Royal Australian Air Force, while residing (and assisting), under supervision, at Our Lady of Victories parish, Camberwell.
  • 1990: Was promoted to be the Parish Priest in charge of St Brigid's parish, Healesville; he suddenly resigned in late December 1994.

Some directories in the 1980s give his full name as David John Daniel.

The police investigation was conducted by the Sexual Crimes Squad, Melbourne. This unit can be contacted through Crimestoppers, telephone 1800 333 000.

Bishops to focus on Royal Commission at August meeting

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Catholic Outlook

 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has convened an additional plenary meeting for 2018 to expedite the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The meeting will be held in Melbourne on 2 and 3 August, and will allow the bishops to consider, as a body, the Church’s formal response to the Royal Commission.

‘The bishops hadn’t received enough advice at their May meeting to prepare our response to the Royal Commission’s final report,’ ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.

‘Additional advice, including from the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, the Implementation Advisory Group, Catholic Professional Standards Limited, local safeguarding experts and canon lawyers has now been received and is informing the bishops’ response.

‘We have also begun discussions with the Holy See about issues that concern the discipline and doctrine of the universal Church.’

Representatives from Catholic Religious Australia, the Implementation Advisory Group and Catholic Professional Standards Limited will attend the meeting.

Archbishop Coleridge said he hoped the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s formal response to the Royal Commission would be released as soon as possible after the August plenary meeting.

‘We decided we couldn’t wait until our next scheduled plenary meeting in late November to finalise our response,’ he said.

The bishops will also receive an update on the Catholic Church’s participation in the National Redress Scheme and on Commonwealth funding for Catholic schools at next week’s meeting.

Pope Francis accepts Archbishop Philip Wilson’s resignation

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

 Pope Francis has this evening accepted Archbishop Philip Wilson’s resignation as Archbishop of Adelaide. His decision to resign comes after considering his future following his conviction for failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse that occurred in the 1970s.

While the judicial process will continue, Archbishop Wilson’s resignation is the next chapter in a heartbreaking story of people who were sexually abused at the hands of Jim Fletcher and whose lives were forever changed. This decision may bring some comfort to them, despite the ongoing pain they bear.

Archbishop Wilson has been praised by many for his work to support victims and survivors of child sexual abuse as Bishop of Wollongong, Archbishop of Adelaide and president of the Bishops Conference. He has decided, however, that his conviction means he can no longer continue as Archbishop because to do so would continue to cause pain and distress to many, especially to survivors, and also in the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Archbishop Philip Wilson sentenced to a 12-month home detention order for concealing child sexual abuse

July 3 2018  Background article by Rebecca Price:

The 'Healing Bishop': How Archbishop Philip Wilson rose to prominence in the Church

Senate Committee Hearings on Redress Scheme

A short report by Bob Munro   March 8, 2018

This is a short summary of the hearing I attended and hope it may be of value.

The hearing was in Melbourne last Tuesday and I share what I heard, particularly from Andrew Collins, a survivor from Ballarat. Chrissie Foster and Francis Sullivan were among many others who spoke.

Andrew Collins gave one of the best summaries I have heard about the situation of survivors, the positives and negatives of speaking to the Royal Commission, what they want for themselves, and their thoughts about the proposed Commonwealth Redress Scheme. After listening to all that was said in this hearing about the scheme, at this stage I happen to concur with Andrew's conclusions on the proposed scheme that is seems little different to the much criticized Melbourne Response.

The full Hansard transcript can be found at;fileType=application%2Fpdf

Andrew Collins' opening statement is on pages 33 & 34. I thought I might just pick a couple of pithy paras at the start of his opening statement:

"Mr Collins: It's been reported in the media that politicians have said that survivors are happy that they were able to tell their stories to the royal commission. That's rubbish. The last thing we wanted to do was to publicly stand up and tell the world what happened to us. Aside from the shame we felt, the repercussions have been immense in some cases, with family and friends turning away from us. We are now forever known as 'those people who were raped as children', and our families have had to endure the great toll it has taken on our mental and physical health. We didn't want to tell our stories, but we did it because we wanted justice.

'Justice' is a multifaceted word that means many things to us. We wanted our perpetrators punished. We wanted the institutions that allowed this to happen to be shamed and also to be punished. We wanted the laws changed so that this could never happen again, and we wanted children protected in the future. We wanted victims to be cared for, we wanted a fair and just redress scheme, and we wanted the deaths of the survivors to stop. All of these things mean justice to us. So far we've had years of pain and very little justice.

For nearly 10 years we've been lobbying politicians and leaders from the institutions, pleading for them to help us get a fair and just redress scheme. I find it ironic that, back when the Victorian government had its inquiry into institutional abuse, the Catholic Church's Melbourne Response and Towards Healing programs were strongly criticised and were again criticised by the royal commission, yet this proposed redress scheme is essentially the same as what they offered."

From what I heard, and I said as such to Francis Sullivan and Derryn Hinch, the organization of, the rules and regulations about who, how and why are complicated, penny pinching and subject to the random interference of ministers eg as happened with the making of the $150k cap - no consultation, not even with the states. Additionally the minister then excluded those with criminal sentences of more than five years. As Chrissie Foster and others said, the Gov't spent $450m over five years. Now they arbitrarily decide and go back over the same ground to change the recommendations the RC agonized over. In the process, principles of equal access and equal treatment for all are discarded.

What also has became obvious, for evaluation and fairness, is the need to make distinctions between care leavers, ie child migrants & those who were wards of state - ie without family, and those others who suffered abuse but had family with the possibility of more close support. As to evaluation of the quantum of redress Matthew Bowden, a witness who had been one of the 15 people in the, sworn to confidentiality, advisory group, said(p15):

"there was some discussion about whether there should just be one payment for everybody who approaches so that there isn't any comparison made. But I felt, and I think this was shared in the room, that there should be some scale to do with severity and impact, the ongoing nature and the context in which abuse happened. There is a different experience for a survivor of peer-to-peer abuse versus the power difference for a person who was charged with a caring role."

Another item of contention was that sexual abuse had to have occurred. But anyone, principally care leavers who had been terrorized in an institution, with only physical abuse were not eligible. Yet their lives had the same trajectory as the sexually abused. The RC suffered the same restrictive dilemma through its Letters Patent. But now this is being used for exclusion purposes as to who will get redress. More importantly for this excluded group they now feel further discrimination thus adding further secondary abuse.

All witnesses, and I would suggest the senators also, were unanimous that a criminal record, often the life shattering consequence of abuse, should not result in an exclusion. There were many examples, including one witness John (p45) who told his story of survival through the penal institutions after be had been through places like Bayswater as a child - mind numbing.

The senators are also expressed confused as they do not yet know what is going to be in the bill and what will be in the rules and thus again subject to the whim of the minister - albeit though it can be disallowed by parliament. As I listened I came again to the conclusion as I have mentioned in the past - "what is more important - people or rules?" Unfortunately committees and bureaucracies so often get hung up about rules.

What was rather interesting was the reflection by the lawyers (p45 on) that if one went to a civil common law claim, one would likely get redress values exceeding $500k. But as was said, "what victim has the emotional, psychological and possibly financial resources to go through that process?"

The scheme envisages three components once eligibility is confirmed:

  1. the monetary payment - currently at a $150k cap;

  2. the direct personal response from the offending institution - an option;

  3. counselling services subject to a cap set in the rules and determined by the minister from time to time. Currently $3000 is being mentioned but I cannot confirm this in any document so far. If $3000, it is a piddling amount for someone who made need it for a the rest of life.

So just as the initial expectation that the revelation of the quantum of abuse in the church would lead to a change towards being accountable, transparent and more pastoral and then that a C'wealth Redress scheme which included all states and institutions, including provision for now defunct institutions, plus that the C'wealth would be watching the institutions for any departure from their new found reformed ways, all of this seems now seems like a fanciful dream. The only hope now is that the Canberran bureaucrats will show heart and pull this together. Unfortunately they still have their arbitrary politician masters.

Bob Munro

MEDIA RELEASE 13.10.2017

 Plaque to replace ribbons at Healesville Catholic Church

A bronze plaque set in concrete will be a permanent acknowledgement of the suffering of victims of sexual abuse in the Healesville parish.

The ceremony of dedication will take place at the end of a Mass of Healing and Hope to be held by the parish community on Wednesday, October 25, at 7.00 p.m.

Wording on the plaque will read: “In recognition of those who have suffered through betrayal of trust...”

The parish is inviting those who have been sexually abused by priests in the parish to this celebration of healing. Others affected - families of victims, teachers and parish staff who tried to warn of the danger, and the people who support victims are also invited to join the parish community in working to heal the hurt.

'We have been wanting to do this for a long time,' Debbie Edwards, pastoral associate in the parish, said at a meeting on Thursday. 'At last we have the opportunity to make it happen.'

The opportunity arose out of an initiative of the LOOKOUT group, whose purpose is to 'be there for victims' and to promote an awareness of the issue in the town. The group approached the parish with a proposal to hold an information forum. A Mass of Healing is deemed to be more appropriate at this time.

LOOKOUT members worked with parish staff in a two-hour session last week, planning the celebration. The meeting recognised that people may not be able to come at short notice, but it is hoped there will be other similar events in the future with an accent on healing the hurt in the parish and in the whole town.

The wide spread of the scourge of child abuse has been revealed by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The final report of the Royal Commission to be released in December is expected to contain recommendations that will affect every level of society. The safety of children will only be secured through adequate protocols and constant vigilance.

Those attending the mass on October 25 will hear of changes in the culture of parish and school. At the meeting, parish secretary, Paula Pearce, spoke of current practices and protocols that go to developing a culture of alertness .

Another speaker will outline the concerns of the LOOKOUT group, especially the on-going needs of victims whose lives have been damaged or even ruined by abuse. Child abuse, including sexual abuse, is not confined to historic instances in churches and other institutions but occurs all too frequently in families.

The group hopes to hold a public meeting next year to raise awareness of the issue in the town. The ramifications of the report of the Royal Commission is likely to be a topic of interest to many institutions in Healesville.

Catholic Church to establish new, 'functionally independent' company to name and shame code of conduct violators

Emily Bourke reported this story on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 12:05:00

EMILY BOURKE: The Catholic Church is to set up an independent company to publicly name and shame church bodies that that fail to abide by a new code of practice to protect children and vulnerable adults.

Catholic Professional Standards is being established in the wake of a litany of failures by church authorities, identified through the child abuse Royal Commission.
The not-for-profit company will develop new child and vulnerable persons standards and then audit and publicly report on the compliance of each church entity.
Church leaders say the move is revolutionary and will usher in a new era of accountability and transparency.

The Brisbane Archbishop is Mark Coleridge. I spoke to him earlier today.

MARK COLERIDGE: Basically, Catholic Professional Standards has three functions.
It will set consistent, clear, comprehensive standards across the nation. It will then audit compliance with those standards. And it will also attend to matters of training and education in what those standards mean and what they require.

EMILY BOURKE: Isn't the law of the land enough to persuade church authorities to ensure the safety of children through background checks, through reporting matters to police? Why do you need a separate company?

MARK COLERIDGE: The law of the land is absolutely fundamental and is completely consonant with what Catholic Professional Standards will do.
But Catholic Professional Standards goes beyond the law and applies the requirements of the law and the requirements of the church to the very particular situations that we face in our various communities. So it is really something that supplements and extends the requirements of the law. It is in no way antagonistic towards them.
So we see it as a kind of partnership between church and state: between the civil law and the kind of standards and processes that we're putting in place with this initiative.

EMILY BOURKE: The naming and shaming aspect to the auditing and the reporting: is that the only consequence of the process? I mean, what's the incentive for a church authority to play ball here? Is it just the threat of public embarrassment?

MARK COLERIDGE: Well, this is a question with which we've grappled long and hard in shaping this initiative we're calling Catholic Professional Standards.
In fact, CPS will not be able to impose penalties in the strict sense, but they will be able to name and shame: and that in itself is a fairly potent sanction.
And in dramatic instances, there will be the possibility also of the Holy See intervening - in other words, the Pope. But for instance, if a bishop in Queensland, where I am, were found not to be compliant, then I would certainly sit down with him and call him to account.

So there are all different sorts of accountabilities built into this process, without there being a strong capacity to impose penalties, like a fine or whatever.
But we are confident within our own community that the naming and shaming will, in fact, be a very potent thing and, with other forms of accountability in fact, will work quite effectively.

EMILY BOURKE: What level of detail will be published? And I'm thinking: will you publish referrals to police, settlements with victims, the reports of historical or contemporary claims, whether they're substantiated or not, sackings, defrockings? What level of detail will you put into that publication?

MARK COLERIDGE: Well, I can't answer that question at this stage because I'm not one of the directors. And again, this body has - not a structural independence; this is another question we've really grappled with.

It doesn't have a structural independence, but it does have a strict functional independence. And therefore those questions, which are in themselves excellent questions, will have to be answered by the directors with their proper independence.
But my hope, I would have to say, is that the audit and the report form the audit will be as detailed as possible because generalisations in this area will not serve the interests of anyone. So my hope is that the reporting will be quite detailed and specific.

EMILY BOURKE: There will be cynics and there will be critics of this company. Some might say: well, you're putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, because the previous experience of professional standards has not been a happy one. And we can talk about the process through Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response.

How do you respond to the criticism that's going to come?

MARK COLERIDGE: We're intensely aware that there are and will be critics and even cynics. We simply have to live with that. There is no way we can, as it were, satisfy everyone or silence all the voices.
All I can say is that we have learnt many, many things through the agonising process of the royal commission.
We have learnt much from the pain of the past and many of the lessons that we've learnt are gathered up into this new initiative.

I can't say to you here and now, "Well, trust us," because in fact we have betrayed trust. That's evident.
All I can say is: this is a genuine attempt to learn from the past and ensure that the future in no way repeats the past; and that there is a kind of transparency and accountability and a consistency that have been patently lacking in the past.

EMILY BOURKE: Well, indeed: the church has on so many occasions proclaimed itself to have independence, transparency, to be fair, to have accountable processes. And yet through the royal commission process we've seen time and time again for it to be manifestly not so. Why would this be any different?

MARK COLERIDGE: This is another kind of action. This is not just words. This is a very significant action that the church is taking.

Look, we all know that words: they can be important but they can also be cheap. What this is is not just words: it is an action. It's been a long time in coming. It's been the fruit of widespread soul-searching and consultation. And the proof will be in the pudding.
So this is not just more hot air or self-protective language. This, in fact, is action that's out there for all to see.
It has an objectivity and an independence which are quite new in our dealing with these agonising issues.

EMILY BOURKE: This enterprise presumably will be wholly funded and owned by the Catholic Church. So talking about independence: isn't it deeply conflicted, if only to be perceived to be conflicted?

MARK COLERIDGE: Well, there may be the perception. But this again is something that we've had to grapple with.
And again I make the point that we decided that structural independence was simply impossible. But what we have worked very hard to achieve - and I think the directors are intensely conscious of this - is a functional independence.

It is true that it will be funded by the church, but the church won't control the use of those funds. And the directors: we've appointed three and there will be more to be appointed. They will have a genuine independence and will not be under the thumb of bishops or anyone else in the church.

So our hope is - and again, the proof will be in the pudding - but our hope is that the functional independence will satisfy some, at least, of our critics. But we're intensely conscious that we are open to the charge that this is again Caesar judging Caesar.It's all in-house. It's not truly independent.
Our hope is that there will be a genuine independence.

EMILY BOURKE: Who will be responsible, then, when things go wrong? Directors of companies are held responsible when things go wrong. Will this be the same?

MARK COLERIDGE: That will be the same. And that's why we're calling it a company: that they will be responsible - and they're very conscious of that responsibility - if things go wrong.

And at times things may go wrong, because the directors are people of vast experience and expertise, but they are in one sense new to this area which is, in some sense, a minefield. So they will be on a steep learning curve.
Things may go wrong, but nonetheless, the directors will be in charge and they will have to bear the responsibility.

EMILY BOURKE: What do you think it will mean for victims of abuse: both those from the past and those going forward?

MARK COLERIDGE: I think one thing it will mean is that the prevention of abuse is far more likely and secure with an initiative such as this.

The other thing is that there will be far greater consistency and clarity, I hope, in the way in which survivors of abuse are treated.

So both prevention in the future, but also a more satisfactory and a more accountable way of dealing with those who have suffered abuse.

EMILY BOURKE: The Brisbane Archbishop and vice-president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Mark Coleridge.

Book Review:

"Crimes of the Father": Tom Keneally tackles abuse in the catholic church

Child-on-child abuse. Why no one wants to talk about it

Henrietta Cook

A culture of silence is failing students who are abused by their classmates.Adults feel so uncomfortable talking to children about this confronting issue that ignoring it appears to be the easier option.

The Age, October 5 2016

Child-on-child abuse.

While the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has shone a spotlight on adult perpetrators, it has not yet focused on child-on-child abuse.

As schools continue to grapple with this issue and demand for specialist services skyrockets, the Royal Commission is now considering holding a public hearing into sexual abuse among children. 

Fairfax Media revealed last year that police are called to Victorian schools three times a week to investigate sex offences that are often perpetrated by children. In May, a seven-year-old student allegedly dragged female students into a toilet at a Melbourne school and sexually assaulted them, angering parents who said they were kept in the dark about the disturbing behaviour. 

Porn, family violence linked to surge in child-on-child sex abuse cases

The Royal Children's Hospital's Gatehouse service saw 350 new cases in the past financial year – more than double the previous year. Of those children, 60 per cent were abusing a sibling; more than 90 per cent had experienced or witnessed family violence.

Experts say the seriousness of the sexual acts has escalated in recent years and that online pornography is often being used as a "teaching manual" for abuse.

Karen Hogan, manager of the service said the children involved were "screaming out for help" and should not be demonised.

"These kids are barometers for what is going on in the home – violence and trauma, drug and alcohol issues, and because of that they're often unsupervised and have access to pornography. They're really needy, they're really vulnerable and sometimes this behaviour is the only way they understand human connection," she said.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Catholic Church accused of ignoring independent review of Melbourne Response

Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart has been accused of exacerbating the suffering of clerical abuse victims by ignoring an independent report on the archdiocese's compensation scheme that he received a year ago.

Victims who want their compensation claims reviewed have been forced to wait while the Archdiocese of Melbourne continues to delay the release of the report, fuelling claims of stalling and obfuscation by the church. [More]

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Labor pledges $33m to fund compo scheme for child sex abuse victims

Turnbull government yet to meet Catholic Church on abuse redress scheme 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Public hearing into Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing to inquire into the response of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse. The public hearing will commence on 24 November 2015 in Melbourne at the County Court of Victoria. This hearing will be co-ordinated with the continuation of the hearing regarding Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat and evidence from witnesses common to each hearing will be received.

The scope and purpose of the public hearing in relation to the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne is to inquire into:

  1. The response of relevant authorities within or associated with the Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse against Catholic clergy associated with the Holy Family Parish, Doveton, and the Holy Family Primary School, Doveton.
  2. The response of the Archdiocese of Melbourne to allegations of child sexual abuse against other Catholic clergy, including Fr Wilfred Baker; Fr David Daniel; Fr Nazareno Fasciale; Fr Desmond Gannon; Fr Paul Pavlou; and Fr Ronald Pickering.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Melbourne 'hurtcore' paedophile master Matthew Graham pleads guilty

While living at home with his parents and sister and attending Epping Secondary College, Graham ... became one of the FBI's most wanted child sex offenders. He was described by the school as a "good student." He has been estranged from his family since being originally charged with 88 offences last year. 

South Morang residents near where he lived said he was babysitter for six local children, three boys and three girls, all aged under 10.

Graham's network of eight websites included text-only chat forums for paedophiles. He made no money from any sites and told an American journalist in encrypted emails last year: "People who have an interest in such things should have a place where they're able to voice their opinions and desires".

Read more: 
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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Australia's Throwaway Children

John Silvester Crime reporter, The Age

There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children – Nelson Mandela.

As a detective Steve Fontana has done the hard yards and with 40 years at the sharp end felt there was little left that could leave him shocked.

He was wrong.

As Assistant Commissioner (Crime) he had assigned a group of his detectives to identify  Internet child porn offenders. Years earlier he investigated sex offenders and wanted to see how computer networks had changed the landscape.

And so late last year he was shown an example of the type of material that is now produced for a growing and frightening international market.

First the office was cleared so no one else would accidentally be subjected to this horror that defies understanding.Labrador Hawk works with the Calgary Police Service as a Canine Assisted Intervention Trauma Dog. 

The screen showed an infant tortured on an online site. And while the images were distressing it was the sound that still haunts the senior cop.

It was of that helpless toddler, just old enough to walk, screaming with pain and fear while being deliberately injured.

Read more: 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Royal Commission to hold public hearing into Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and to continue the Ballarat hearing

Monday, August 24, 2015

Child abuse royal commission: Former pope John Paul II handled allegations 'poorly', inquiry hears

The transcript may be downloaded from the Commission's website:,-august-2015,-sydney

Monday, July 27, 2015

Woman who gave birth to 12-year-old boy's daughter jailed for six years for sexual abuse

A mother of three who gave birth to a child fathered by a 12-year-old boy she had been sexually abusing for more than two years has been jailed for six years.

A County Court judge, who cannot be named, said on Monday the woman had behaved in an abhorrent and shocking way when abusing the vulnerable boy for her own emotional and physical needs.

The judge said the woman's moral culpability was very high given she was supposed to have been looking after the boy for his mother when she had to work early, and had been in a position of trust and friendship.

"The protection of children is an extremely important matter," the judge told the woman when jailing her for six years with a non-parole period of three years and six months and placing her on the sex offenders register for life.

The woman, 40, gave birth to a daughter in May last year when her victim was 14.

The judge said the woman had taken the boy's adolescence away from him and while he clearly loved his daughter, he was having difficulties adjusting to fatherhood and what had happened to him.

He said the boy was angry and confused, his relationship with his mother had deteriorated and he should not have to deal with these issues at such a young age.


The woman, who pleaded guilty to one count of persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16 between April 2012 and May 2014, claimed she was ashamed, embarrassed and guilt-ridden at what she had done.

She told psychologist Professor James Ogloff she was sexually naive and did not realise the boy was old enough to father a child.

The woman said she was attracted to the boy because he was sexually maturing but denied being attracted to children.

Professor Ogloff found the woman had not been acting in a predatory way or been driven by a deviant sexual desire, but instead had allowed her feelings of care and nurturing for the boy to develop into a sexual relationship.


Professor Ogloff did not believe the woman suffered from a paedophilic disorder and was unlikely to reoffend.

Read more:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fr. Thomas Doyle meets with members of pontifical commission on sex abuse

One of the most severe critics of the church's handling of the sex abuse scandal spent several days last month briefing members of the Vatican commission appointed to advise Pope Francis on the issue...

Doyle said he spent eight to 10 hours over three days at the beginning of June explaining the situation in the United States from the perspective of his 30 years of advocacy for victims...

In his presentations to the commission, Doyle emphasized what he said are two essential points:

  • The "absolute need for real accountability" on the part of bishops for what they have done and not done in regard to the issue. "There's no question -- it has been eminently documented that they have enabled sexual abusers for ages." Through the long history of abuse, the hierarchy's relationship to victims "has been very adversarial and still is."
  • The need for the church to be far more committed than it is to the welfare of victims, a topic that gets avoided amid the efforts now made to protect children.

He said the church has done a great deal to put in place programs and protocols to protect children.

"Protection of children is certainly a natural approach to take for this issue," he said. "We have to protect children. It is also much easier and less painful and controversial than saying, 'Our No. 1 mandate should be the care of victims because they are our own victims. They were not victimized by any other institution.' "

The past, he said, is important "because of the legions of people out there whose lives are irreparably ruined because of what clerics and hierarchy have done to them. These people have to be given the highest priority." Focusing exclusively on the future and programs being put in place to protect children was an approach he described as "a software solution to a hardware problem."

In an outline prepared for the presentation, Doyle spoke of the "two most vivid memories" in his work on the issue. The first was a meeting with a 10-year-old boy, "then hearing his psychologist describe what had happened to him and how it affected him. Coupled with this was my reaction to reading the detailed report.

"The second memory was the night I realized not only cognitively but emotionally that some of the bishops in high positions were actively and even aggressively covering up the cases of sexual abuse and in the process were laying [out] their public responses and responses to parents with lies. I was stunned and emotionally devastated on that occasion."

He told the panel that priests and bishops who have publicly supported victims "have been punished in some way by church authorities. Those who continue to minister to this issue in various ways remain under suspicion" and are "criticized, slandered and devalued" by other clerics and church leaders.

Sexual abuse, he said, "is a complex, multi-faceted reality" and one "deeply embedded in the clerical culture" as well as the wider culture of the Catholic church. Among the causes contributing to abuse are the nature of priesthood; the social structure of the institutional church as a monarchy; and a sacramental structure that often places laypeople "in a passive-dependent relationship with the clergy."

In addition to giving "highest priority to reaching out to and healing victims of sexual abuse" by more than speeches and decrees, he said bishops should "publicly acknowledge that sexual predators have been protected and enabled by bishops, archbishops and cardinals and that this criminal behavior is as bad as or worse than the individual acts of sexual abuse." Church officials also should seek "to understand and appreciate the complex nature of the spiritual devastation caused by sexual violation by clergy."

Wednesday , July 15, 2015

Railway employee pleads guilty to multiple child abuse charges.

"He should have never been let near children again. But he was able to operate with a free rein for 40 years." 

Read more:

Saturday,  July 11, 2015

When a partner beats their spouse it causes great and sometimes unacknowledged harm to their children.

Victorian Police statistics show that children were present at more than a third of family violence incidents over the past three years.

This means that in the past year (April 2014 - April 2015), 44,400 children were at a family violence incident, up from 36,300 three years ago. Yet in Victoria, we do little to address the trauma caused by violence, according to a submission to the royal commission from the Australian Childhood Foundation.

Read more:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Thirty years later

The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is publishing a whole week of articles on the clerical paedophile crisis in the US.

Wednesday, July 1.2015

Woman sexually abused boy for more than two years before falling pregnant to him, court hears

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Porn, family violence linked to surge in child-on-child sex abuse cases

Online porn lures young children into problem sex, mother warns

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Catholic cops involved in cover-up of child abuse by priests

In recent times senior police have condemned leaders of the Catholic Church for failure to co-operate with investigations into sexual assaults by clergy members.

About two years ago Victoria's then deputy commissioner (and now new Chief Commissioner) Graham Ashton told a state parliamentary inquiry, "The processes of the Catholic Church are designed to put the reputation of the church first and the victims second".

But the terrible truth is that for decades police were part of the problem, with key officers actively working for the church and against fellow officers investigating rogue priests.

Recognising the need to be heard

Friday 22 May 2015 

Media and Communications Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

THIS Tuesday marked the start of a three-week public hearing of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse into institutions run by the Catholic Church in the diocese of Ballarat, including St Joseph’s Home, St Alipius Primary School and parish, St Patrick’s College and St Patrick’s Christian Brothers Boys Primary School.

The court will first hear from 18 survivor witnesses followed by statements from counsellors, doctors, members of relevant support groups and perpetrators.

Survivor Patrick Nagle, 50, who attended St Alipius, told ABC News that testifying at the Commission was ‘extremely difficult’.

‘We’ve known this has been coming for about three months and I haven’t slept [the] last couple of nights,’ he said.

‘It was very, very tough indeed. But I’m glad it’s over.’

In an interview with The Age, Shireen Gunn, Manager of the Centre against Sexual Assault in Ballarat, spoke of the difficulty for many in telling their stories.

‘This inquiry is the external realisation of what we already know. But the fact that these guys can get up and give these graphic details and tell their stories—it’s just a huge achievement.’

Since the beginning of the Royal Commission two years ago, more victims have felt encouraged to come forward to seek justice. ‘There’s more to come out,’ said Gunn. ‘Even this week we’ve had more contacts—the hearings are a trigger.’

A statement given by Paul Bird, Bishop of Ballarat also points to the recognition of the need to be heard, and for past hurts to be acknowledged.

‘They deserve our admiration and our support. They also have a right to know that the Church recognises their suffering and apologises for the pain they have endured, both at the time of their abuse and through all the years they have carried their burden with them.’

‘I am hopeful that the Royal Commission’s sessions in Ballarat, difficult though they will be for many, will provide an opportunity for people to have their voices heard. It is my hope too that when the Royal Commission finishes its work, it will be able to put forward recommendations that will help all Australians, including the Catholic Church, to deal more justly, more compassionately and more effectively with the scourge of sexual abuse of children and young people.’

Access Royal Commission Hearings

In an effort to make sure that the survivor’s stories are respected, the Truth Justice and Healing Council is posting a brief summary of each day’s hearing on their website:,-ballarat,-may-2015,.aspx  This is a very easy way to access the program, the victim statements and the transcripts of the Royal Commission hearing.

Child Sexual Abuse and the Churches: A Story of Moral Failure?

Patrick Parkinson

Some people may be puzzled, even angered, that the title to this article ends in a question mark. Surely we already know that the story of child sexual abuse in churches is a story of shocking moral failure. Story after story has appeared in the media in Australia in recent years of terrible sexual exploitation of children — and if that were not bad enough, reports of the cover-up of those crimes by superiors in the Church who, for whatever reason, chose not to involve the police or to act protectively towards children. These are not just Australian stories. In the Catholic Church at least, these patterns have been replicated in many countries across the western world, and it is perhaps just a matter of time before stories emerge from other countries that reveal the same patterns. In the court of public opinion, then, the judgment has already been delivered. It is only the consequences of that judgment that are still being worked out. Much of that condemnation is justified. The story is, however, a more complex one than is often portrayed.

Audit released on abuse compliance in the USA

America, April 11, 2015 Issue 

The U.S. bishops on April 17 released an annual audit tracking the church’s response to the abuse of children by members of the clergy. During the 2014 audit year (July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014), 37 allegations of abuse were current and 620 were made by adults who had been abused in the past. Of the current allegations, all were reported to civil authorities, who found six substantiated, 11 unsubstantiated and 12 unable to be proven. Eight other cases were still being investigated. “While substantive progress has been made, it should not be concluded that the sexual abuse of minors is a problem of the past,” Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., Chair of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, wrote in a letter introducing the report. “The fact that there were six substantiated cases of abuse of current minors in this year’s audit is indicative of the fact that there are still instances where dioceses fall short.” Cesareo warned that institutional complacency was “something that bishops need to guard against.”  Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People

Catholic Church abuse claims were anticipated years before allegations were made

The Age, April 12, 2015

Chris Vedelago, Jane Lee

The Catholic Church had set aside tens of millions of dollars to compensate sexual abuse victims years before it was prepared to publicly acknowledge the extent of the problem and now has up to $150 million set aside to cover existing and future claims.

Internal documents show the church's insurance company, Catholic Church Insurance Ltd (CCI), had warned the nation's bishops that the church was facing financial exposure to sexual abuse compensation claims as early as 1988 – more than seven years before the creation of the Melbourne Response and Towards Healing victim assistance programs in 1996. Read More

State should fund rehab for paedophiles, say Centres Against Sexual Assault

The Age, April 6, 2015 

Jane Lee

Legal Affairs Reporter for The Age

Rehabilitation could help prevent paedophiles from offending.

A spokeswoman for the CASA (Centres Against Sexual Assault) Forum, Carolyn Worth, said some of its affiliated centres around Victoria received phone calls every fortnight from people seeking help for their sexual fantasies about children.

But because the centres' funding excluded adult offenders, they had to turn them away, referring them instead to a private provider specialising in sexual health and relationships.

"Our response is somewhat inadequate at the moment, which is to say 'If you've got any money we can send you to private [psychiatrists] but if you haven't then it's more of a problem'," Ms Worth, who has worked in the area of child sexual abuse for more than 20 years, said.

There were few public services available for such people, she said. Read more

Government's response further abuses child-sex victims - Judy Courtin

Sydney Morning Herald, March 29, 2015

"In January, the Royal Commission published a consultation paper on redress schemes for child sexual assault victims. The most effective and fair approach would be delivered by a national redress scheme run by the federal government, but, on the whole, paid for by the institutions where the crimes occurred. The Royal Commission also proposed that the federal government be a "funder of last resort" for those whose institution doesn't exist anymore.

"The federal government scoffed at the need for a national redress scheme and said it will not be involved."

Fire at St James Church in Brighton a 'relief', says actor Rachel Griffiths

The Age, March 29, 2015

"Hollywood actor Rachel Griffiths says it was a "relief" to see fire tear through St James Church on Monday morning because of the history of child sex abuse there.

"Investigations are underway into the fire, which broke out at the 123-year-old church about 6.30am, gutting the heritage-listed building and destroying its roof.

"The Brighton church was attended by notorious paedophile priest Ronald Pickering from 1978 to 1993, before he fled to the United Kingdom, fearing prosecution. "

Family violence rates higher in Victoria's Country Areas

The Age, March 4, 2015 

Richard Willingham

State Political Correspondent for The Age

Women in rural and regional areas are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence than those in Melbourne.

Co-author and community lawyer Amanda George said country areas had a culture of masculinity in families, sporting clubs and the police, which meant family violence was often not reported.  

The violence is generational, Ms George said. Women interviewed for the research said they often reached out to their mothers about family violence, but were simply told to "suck it up love".

"Women were saying it was just a normal part of life, so there's no point in complaining about it, it was just the way it was," Ms George said. "Violence was totally normalised."

For too long, reports were often not properly investigated by local police, because the alleged abuser drank with or played football with the police, she said.

"Women had no confidence making reports."

Women in the country also find it hard to get away from violent men, with less access to community support groups and legal centres  than is available in cities. Ms George said funding cuts to legal and housing services had made it increasingly difficult for women to leave violent relationships.

There is also a stigma, with women in small towns finding it difficult to go to court, knowing their affairs would quickly become town gossip.

"It's a powerful disincentive in the country for women to speak out."

Read more:

Catholic church fought sex abuse victim's claims to deter others, inquiry finds The Guardian 12.2.2015

Child sex abuse royal commission calls for $4.38bn national compensation scheme The Guardian 30.1.2015

Pope says church must rid itself of the scourge of child sexual abuse February 5, 2015, in a letter asking bishops and superiors of religious communities for their complete co-operation with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, to ensure that everything possible is done.  

The Pope looking into abuse of power in different sectors of the church, says Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, head of the Institute of Psychology at Rome’s Gregorian University and director of its Centre for the Protection of Minors, and a member of the Pontifical Commission.

Child sex abuse within families rampant. The Age September 13, 2014. Victoria Police wants to open a new front in the fight against family violence as frightening new data reveals a 43 per cent jump in child sex abuse cases in the past five years.


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