September 16, 2013 by ajfloyd
Australia opens public hearings into cases of child abuse with video here
Australia has opened public hearings into cases of institutional child abuse in churches and other public institutions amid allegations against several organizations.
Chief commissioner Justice Peter McClellan said on Monday that thousands of people have so far reported abuse in places of worship, orphanages, community groups and schools.
[color][font]“It is now well known that the sexual abuse of children has been widespread in the Australian community; however, the full range of institutions in which it has occurred is not generally understood,” McClellan stated.
“Many of the stories we are hearing will shock many people.”
The Australian government established the inquiry – the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – last November in response to a series of child sex abuse scandals involving pedophile priests in the Catholic Church.
The investigation is expected to cover a broad spectrum of institutions, including the Catholic Church.
McClellan said that the commission, which formally began work in April, has taken confidential briefings from thousands of victims.
“Many people who have come to the commission have suffered greatly, both at the time that the abuse occurred and subsequently through their lives,” he told the commission hearing in Sydney.
“Many have received counseling at various stages of their lives, many have thought of suicide and some have attempted it.”
“Many people including those who suffered abuse 30 or 40 years ago break down in the course of telling their story and require the assistance of support persons to be able to continue,” he added.
McClellan also stated that the “sexual abuse is almost always accompanied by almost unbelievable levels of physical violence inflicted on the children by the adults who have responsibility for their welfare” in residential institutions such as orphanages and boarding schools.
The commission will also hear evidence from victims and organizations in relation to convicted pedophile and former Scout master Steve “Skip” Larkins, who is in jail for child pornography offences.
In 2012, the Catholic Church in Australia’s Victoria State admitted that its priests had abused over 600 children since the 1930s.
The Catholic Church has also been rocked by numerous revelations of child sexual abuse at the hands of priests around the world.
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