The Catholic Church in Australia on Thursday has proposed to work on new systems and procedures on how it would deal child sex abuse cases in the future.
Samples of Catholic religious objects—The Holy Bible, a Crucifix, and a Rosary. (Wikimedia)
The proposals, according to Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, are being aimed to be presented in the first half of 2014 to Catholic Church leaders in Australia.
Part of the reform proposals include:
- Appointing independent compensation commissioners to determine payments to victims who go through the victim response process known as Towards Healing. This would separate the pastoral responses in Towards Healing from the determination of financial payments;
- The appointment of lay and independent experts to strengthen the Church's National Committee of Professional Standards;
- The introduction of an independent national board to develop and administer national child protection standards. The board would monitor adherence to these standards and publicly report on compliance;
- The board would also provide more rigorous assessment, monitoring, auditing and enforcement of Towards Healing practices;
- The introduction of greater transparency through public reporting by both the new national board and the Towards Healing process
The submission of the new proposals follows the admission of Australia's Catholic Church that it had indeed "betrayed" the public with cover-ups with previous victims.
"The church is also ashamed to acknowledge that, in some cases, those in positions of authority concealed or covered up what they knew of the facts; moved perpetrators to another place thereby enabling them to offend again, or failed to report matters to the police when they should have," the submission said.
Caught in the spotlight here is the Church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council, established to coordinate the Church's response to the Royal Commission.
Pope Francis of the Catholic Church (Wikimedia)
"The submission presents to the royal commission a warts and all approach that outlines the strengths but also recognises how Towards Healing operates," Mr Sullivan told Guardian Australia.
"We need to put in place much more rigorous, contemporary best-practice governance arrangements including accountability for all church authorities about the operation of Towards Healing, the safeguards that are in the Catholic church for children, the measures to prevent sex abuse and the achievement of standards across the whole church."
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