Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has last week confirmed the Catholic Church will enter the National Redress Scheme for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse.
“I am very pleased that the Catholic Church has announced that it will enter the National Redress Scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse, when this becomes possible under National and State Government legislation,” Archbishop Costelloe said, in a statement released Wednesday 30 May.
Western Australia is to date, the only state remaining to enter into the scheme.
Earlier in the week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia also confirmed that the Church will enter the national redress scheme.
Since 2013, the Catholic Church has consistently called for a national redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse.
“Survivors of this terrible abuse have a right to redress, and it is both necessary and appropriate that the institutions in which the abuse occurred should now be the ones who provide support,” Archbishop Costelloe said, in his statement.
“It is equally important that those who administer this scheme should be independent of the Institutions in which the abuse occurred,” he said.
“The establishment of a truly National scheme will ensure that this is the case.
Archbishop Costelloe continued by saying that the announcement fulfils a commitment made by himself and the other senior Catholic Archbishops in Australia, and many other Catholic Church Authorities in Australia, during the final public hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“I am relieved that this commitment is being honoured,” he said.
“In relation to our situation in Western Australia, as the Catholic Archbishop of Perth I am fully committed to joining and supporting the Redress Scheme once any necessary legislation required for this to happen has been passed by the West Australian parliament.
“We support the Royal Commission’s recommendation for a national redress scheme, administered by the Commonwealth, and we are keen to participate in it,” said ACBC President, Archbishop Mark Coleridge.
“Survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories.”
CRA president Sr Ruth Durick OSU said the CRA recognises that redress will not take away a survivor’s pain.
“But we hope that it can provide some practical assistance in the journey towards recovery from abuse,” Sr Durick said.
“We are committed to providing redress to survivors who were abused within the Catholic Church.”
Various Catholic leaders told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that they supported a national redress scheme to limit future trauma for survivors of abuse in obtaining redress from the Church.
Given the diverse structure of the Catholic Church, Catholic officials have been working with the Commonwealth Government to enable the Church to work effectively with the independent National Redress Scheme Operator.
“To that end, we are establishing an agency to allow dioceses and religious congregations to interact with the Scheme Operator,” Archbishop Coleridge said.