Australia to hold child abuse inquiry

DAVID WROE
Last updated 20:51 12/11/2012
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Reuters
ABUSE INQUIRY ANNOUNCED: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Relevant offers

World

Tragic mum Lisa McLaughlin spared jail after killing drug addict lover Sydney student Michelle Leng's shopping trip ends in her murder US Army names Kristen Griest first female infantry officer How 'swatting' your neighbour could net you 20 years in the US Nurofen maker Reckitt Beckinser fined $1.86m for misleading conduct 11-year-old sneaks through airport security and boards Russian flight US women may soon be required to register for the military draft JetBlue pilot in the US faces jail after allegedly flying drunk Snapchat sued as photos taken while crashing at 172kmh Carl Icahn warns 'day of reckoning' approaches, sells entire Apple stake

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a royal commission to investigate decades of child abuse in churches, schools and foster homes.

Gillard said the commission would address "institutional responses to child abuse" - the instances of abuse as well as the manner in which they have been dealt - by a range of institutions.

She said she would work in coming weeks with Attorney General Nicola Roxon to define the terms of reference, but said she imagined the investigation would go back decades.

The announcement follows calls by the Greens and some Labor backbenchers for a royal commission into abuse in the Catholic Church, after it was alleged by a senior policeman that investigations were hindered and in some cases compromised by church officials.

But Gillard said the inquiry would not be limited to the Catholic Church but would include churches, schools, foster homes, state services, police forces, sand the not-for-profit sector.

"The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking," Gillard said.

"These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject. The individuals concerned deserve the most thorough of investigations into the wrongs that have been committed against them.

"They deserve to have their voices heard and their claims investigated. I believe a royal commission is the best way to do this."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had earlier given his backing to a royal commission, provided it was not limited to the Catholic Church.

"Any investigation must be wide-ranging, must consider any evidence of the abuse of children in Australia, and should not be limited to examination of any one institution. It must include all organisations, government and non-government, where there is evidence of sexual abuse."

Gillard said terms of reference and a proposed commissioner would be submitted soon to Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who has the power to establish the commission.

She said she had the backing of her Cabinet. She will speak in coming days to state premiers about co-ordinating with any existing inquiries.

"Discussions will also take place with victims’ groups, religious leaders, and community organisations."

Ad Feedback

- Sydney Morning Herald

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content