Statement from Bishop Bill Wright on release of consultation paper on redress for victims of child sexual abuse and possible reforms to civil litigation

Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Today the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its consultation paper on options for redress and possible reforms to civil litigation for victims of child sexual abuse.

 

As I have stated previously, I strongly support the Royal Commission in its mission to investigate and recommend improvements to laws, policies and procedures to better protect children. Together with the Truth, Justice and Healing Council I also advocate a national compensation scheme for victims of child sexual abuse, to ensure equity and consistency and, above all, a fair outcome for victims – regardless of which state they live in.

 

We fully support the points raised by the Royal Commission’s consultation paper in relation to potentially removing limitation periods for actions relating to child sexual abuse, as we recognise that in such distressing situations it may take victims a very long time to be in a position to speak about their abuse.

 

A significant number of victims of abuse are connected to the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, and this is not something we will ignore. We are committed to continuing to support victims of abuse. As a diocese we have not, nor do we plan to invoke the ‘Ellis defence’. Our diocese will continue to support victims of abuse regardless of whether a national compensation scheme is introduced or not, with continued support through our Child Protection Unit – Zimmerman Services, and assistance and counselling through our Healing and Support Team. 

 

- Bishop Bill Wright, Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.