Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe SDB has late last week signed the legal documents required for the entry of the Archdiocese of Perth into the Commonwealth Redress Scheme.
Having sought and received the advice and consent of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the Archdiocesan College of Consultors, Archbishop Costelloe said he was satisfied the commitment he made at the final hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have been honoured.
In a statement published 28 November, WA Attorney General Hon John Quigley said that legislation enabling Western Australian survivors of historical child sexual abuse to seek compensation under the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) has passed through the State Parliament.
Participation in the scheme will give survivors a simpler and streamlined alternative to pursuing civil litigation through the courts, after the McGowan Government removed the statutory limitation period for child sexual abuse actions earlier this year.
The passage of the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2018 means that the WA Government’s participation in the scheme will begin, and applications received can be assessed, from January 1, 2019.
Speaking to The Record, Archbishop Costelloe paid particular attention to the fact that any suggestion that the Catholic Church, and in particular the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, has not yet committed to the Redress Scheme or has been reluctant to do so, is incorrect.
“Support for the Redress Scheme was clearly enunciated by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, confirmed by the metropolitan Archbishops at the final hearings of the Royal Commission, and further confirmed when the Church’s formal response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission was announced in August,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.
“This signing of the official documents yesterday is an important moment in our Archdiocese’s ongoing response to the crisis of child sexual abuse which has blighted so many lives and compromised the ability of the Church to offer the Lord’s compassionate mercy and love to a world so much in need,” he said.
“I invite you all to use this moment to recommit yourselves to the urgent task of making our parishes, schools and other church institutions places of absolute safety for children, young people and vulnerable adults,” he concluded.