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National Inquiry Exposes Wide Spread Abuse

Australia’s national inquiry into child sex abuse has suggested that more than 5000 people are expected to provide evidence of abuse and consequential trauma. The inquiry, expected to continue until 2015, will look at government agencies, NGO’s, State care providers, as well as religious groups, schools and churches.

– NSW detectives are currently investigating allegations of child sexual abuse in the Sydney Jewish community in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and a Melbourne man has recently given evidence to the inquiry that Jewish leaders in that city, took no action about cases of which they were aware.

– In a recent statement to the Victorian inquiry, a Salvation Army spokesperson has admitted shame and deep regret at the sexual abuse and torture experienced in the Army’s children’s homes in past years. Although these facility’s are no longer operating, the Salvation Army has forked out $15.5 million to victims of previous abuse. 50 Army officers have been named in the inquiry, however many of these are now deceased.

– The former spiritual leader of Australia’s 3.5 million Anglican’s, Peter Hollingworth, was widely criticised for his inept handling of sex abuse cases in the diocese; in fact due to this, he lost his position as Governer-General. The current primate, Phillip Aspinall, believes that every instance of child sexual abuse should be reported to the police.

– The child safety commissioner in Victoria , Bernie Geary, told the parliamentary inquiry that he would lobby the State Government to make all church staff legally bound to report sex crimes or face stiff penalties. But the Catholic Church, in its submission to the inquiry, opposed the move, arguing that it would mean priests violating the sacrament of confession. This is despite Pope Francis, the recently elected Pontiff, stating that he wants the Catholic Church to ” act decisively in combating sexual abuse, by clergy “