The TJHC was established to allow the many and varied parts of the Catholic Church to interact effectively and as one with the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
On 11 January 2013 the Federal Government formally announced the establishment of a Royal Commission into the way institutions across Australia have responded to complaints of child sexual abuse.
Shortly after the announcement, the two overarching Catholic Church organisations, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia, which together represent dioceses, archdioceses and religious congregations across Australia, established the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.
The Council has been established in recognition of the importance of the Royal Commission and the imperative for the Church to address the past openly and honestly, the good with the bad. The formation of the Council will allow the Church to speak with one voice before the Royal Commission representing the numerous organisations that make up the Catholic Church.
The Truth, Justice and Healing Council will oversee the Church’s engagement with the Royal Commission by:
- Speaking for the Church in matters related to the Commission and child sexual abuse;
- Coordinating the Church’s legal representation at the Commission;
- Identifying systematic institutional failures that have impeded the protection of children; and
- Indicating to the Commission the procedures that have been put in place over the past 20 years.
The Council will also:
- Initiate research into best practice procedures, policies and structures to protect children in the future;
- Make submissions to the Commission about the procedures, policies and structures in place today and the improvements intended to be made; and
- Promote lasting healing for the victims and survivors of previous abuse.
- The Council will approach its task with openness, courage and humility
The 12 members of the Council include men and women with professional and other expertise in the areas of child sexual abuse, paedophilia, trauma, mental illness, suicide, education, public administration and governance.
The Most Rev Mark Coleridge, the Archbishop of Brisbane, is a serving member of the Council.
Text courtesy of the Truth Justice and Healing Council website.