The Catholic Church has officially announced it is going to sign up to the national redress scheme for victims of institutionalised child sex abuse. This development gives many victims hope of proper compensation after being sexually abused by Catholic priests, an international scandal wherein the Church attempted to cover up and downplay charges against its clergy.
In what is considered a huge step forward, the Catholic Church has officially confirmed it will enter the national redress scheme, and despite being initially oppositional to it has become the first non-governmental institution to opt into it.
The church’s supervisory bodies in Australia, Catholic Religious Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, have released a press statement saying that they were eager to opt in to “limit future trauma for survivors of abuse”.
The statement, made by ACBC’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge, went on to say that it supports the Royal Commission’s “recommendation for a national redress scheme” and that it would be “administered by the Commonwealth”.
He also said that “survivors deserve justice” and that many people have “bravely” revealed their stories of abuse in testimony.
The Archbishop also said that because of the diverse nature of the Catholic Church’s structure that they would develop a “simple and cost-effective” strategy to respond to every compensation claim.
The Royal Commission revealed evidence from 2,500 individuals who has been sexually abused in Catholic schools, churches and other institutions run by the Catholic Church. Every Australia state and territory, except for Western Australia, has signed up for the redress scheme.
The scheme is set to offer $150,000 in compensation to victims of childhood sexual abuse in Catholic institutions.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said of the news that it was a “significant development” and added that every institution needed to “take responsibility for the abuse” and “pay the cost of providing redress”.
The scheme is set to start in July and Mr Turnbull has said that the Government was working with WA and other non-government parties to get them involved.