Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Steering Committee for the Sydney Diocesan response to the Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse says a file review of material relating to child abuse complaints stretching back to the 1930’s is almost complete.

“The Committee has commissioned a thorough review of all complaints, notifications and files which are relevant to the Royal Commission. This has been done carefully and has involved reviewing a significant amount of material” said Steering Committee spokesman Dr Robert Tong.

“Some media reports have misrepresented evidence given to the Royal Commission by equating the number of files with complaints or current investigations. Some outlets reported that there were 600 current investigations of complaints. This is not correct.” he said.

“One complaint is one too many” said Dr Tong “but distorting the true picture does not help the commission or public confidence that the matters are being handled with integrity.”

The Diocese of Sydney has been adopting a multifaceted approach to the issue of safe ministry and child protection since the mid-1990’s, including screening, pro-active training for volunteers and workers involved in children’s ministry and a strict complaints protocol.

An apology was reaffirmed and the approach was given top priority by Archbishop Jensen in 2002. The Royal Commission was welcomed in 2012 with Dr Jensen pledging the diocese would “work and pray for an outcome which will result in a safer society for the most vulnerable.”

Archbishop Glenn Davies reaffirmed the Diocesan commitment after his election in August this year, saying “I totally support the stand that our diocese and leaders have taken in stating our total abhorrence of sexual misconduct and any abuse of children.”

Dr Tong said “Those who attend our churches and the wider public can be assured that safety of children continues to be top priority. We acknowledge the harm and pain that victims have suffered and we are committed to caring and supporting survivors of child abuse.” 

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