Church reports on work since Royal Commission

Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj
Archbishop Mark Coleridge and Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj speak at a Press Conference in North Sydney in August. PHOTO: Broken Bay Diocese

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia have submitted
their first annual report to the National Office for Child Safety (NOCS) on the Church’s
work to implement recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional
Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“While acknowledging that there is much more work to be done, the first annual report
outlines a series of actions taken during the past 12 months – indeed, over the past three
decades – and signals the determination of the bishops and religious leaders to do what is
required,” said president of the ACBC Archbishop Mark Coleridge in a statement last week.

The report outlines the Church’s efforts to address the issue of child sexual abuse in the years before the Royal Commission was established in 2012, its engagement with the Royal Commission during its five years, and establishment of new agencies including Catholic Professional Standards Ltd, the Implementation Advisory Group and Australian Catholic Redress Limited.

It also provides updates on the safeguarding activities in congregations, dioceses and agencies across the country.

See related story: Busy year for safeguarding in Sydney Archdiocese

The joint report was posted on the ACBC and CRA websites on 14 December to coincide with the first anniversary of the completion of the Royal Commission, as required by one of the Commission’s recommendations.

It is expected it will also appear on the NOCS website alongside other reports submitted by other non-government institutions.

The annual report follows the Church’s official response to the Royal Commission, delivered
at a joint press conference given by Archbishop Coleridge and CRA president Sr Monica Cavanagh RSJ in August.

At that time the final reports of the Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council were also published online.

Karen Larkman (director) and Rebecca King of the Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office pictured while delivering training to the Archdiocese of Suva in Fiji, earlier this year. PHOTO: Supplied

The Church has accepted 98 per cent of the recommendations that related to the Catholic Church, while 27 of 35 archdioceses, dioceses and eparchies, and one religious order have now joined the National Redress Scheme.

“Catholic religious continue to acknowledge the depth of pain endured by survivors of abuse within the Catholic Church and all those who have been hurt by that abuse”, said Sr Monica.

In February Archbishop Coleridge will join the first-ever meeting of the presidents of the world’s Bishops Conferences to discuss the protection of minors in Church and Church-related settings.