Australian catholic church pays $212m to abuse victims

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Feb 17, 2017 By Violet Tucker

“The Commission’s experience is that many survivors face barriers which deter them from reporting abuse to authorities and to the institution in which the abuse occurred”, Furness said.

According to data released February 15 by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, established by Australia to investigate sex abuse, the Catholic Church in Australia has shelled out the USA equivalent of $212 million to 2,854 claimants from 1980-2015.

The Catholic Church has paid more than $276 million in claims to thousands of victims of child sexual abuse, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard.

On average, sex abuse victims received AU$91,000 in compensation, it stated.

The data showed the average payment was about $70,000, the BBC reported. The Christian Brothers, a religious order that operated numerous children’s homes in Australia, paid an average of $64,000 to 763 claimants, totalling $48 million.

Francis Sullivan, chief executive of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, explained, “From the 1950s to the current time, this report chronicles human damage and misery at the hands of the Catholic Church”.

Sullivan said that not all victims have equal opportunities or compensation. “It’s still not a fair system”, he added.

The commission was told that some 741 claims were still ongoing.

Close to 4,500 people made claims for alleged incidents of child sexual abuse between January 1980 and February 2015, but the earliest incidents reported to a claim were in the 1920s.

It managed to identify 1,880 alleged perpetrators, who included 597 (32 percent) ‘religious brothers, ‘ 572 (30 percent) priests, 543 (29 percent) lay people, and 96 (5 percent) ‘religious sisters.’ At least 90 percent of the alleged perpetrators were male, according to the report.

Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal George Pell said a year ago that the church had made “enormous mistakes” and “catastrophic” choices by refusing to believe abused children.

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