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Church uses new abuse data as “impetus for change”

The Catholic Church was using new figures released at the Royal Commission as “impetus for change” across its schools and parishes, the head of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council said today.

Francis Sullivan issued a statement after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released new data which compiled allegations from 1950 to 2015.

Today’s data provided new insight into some aspects of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church including:

  • a massive drop in child sexual abuse claims from the peak in the 1970s of some 1,245 claims in that decade to 41 claims in the 2010s
  • a massive drop in the number of alleged clerical perpetrators from a peak in the 1960s of more than 400 to less than 10 in the 2010s
  • a massive drop-off in the number of claims in schools from more than 600 in the 1970s to around 25 in the 2010s
  • across all the disoseses and orders where abuse has occurred some $258 million in redress has been paid

Mr Sullivan said: “The days of the Church investigating itself must be over – today’s data reinforces this position. As has been said today, we know that far more people were abused than have come forward. These statistics are not the full story and, if anything, are understated rather than overstated.

“A full analysis of this data will form the basis for policy developments in the Church. We will learn from it and use it as further impetus for change in the church, as a basis for better policies and procedures.

“That analysis will happen soon but right now is the time for the Church to be humble, receptive and in a state of confession.”

Mr Sullivan’s full statement can be read here.

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