The Royal Commission’s second issues paper on Towards Healing has attracted 15 institutional or academic submissions from around Australia, including a submission from the Truth Justice and Healing Council, with a further 29 submissions setting out personal experiences.
Towards Healing was adopted by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in 1996 to respond to complaints of abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia.
Royal Commission Chief Executive Officer, Janette Dines, said the Royal Commission was pleased with the response.
“We were seeking information in a number of areas including policies and procedures for dealing with complaints, the experience of victims and the options for redress in the Towards Healing process.
“Some common views were expressed,” said Ms Dines:
A lack of consistency and transparency in following Towards Healing policies and procedures, combined with calls to establish an independent process,
Towards Healing’s strong focus on Canon Law, with limited reference to administrative or criminal law approaches,
Power imbalances in the process, including suggestions that the accused is given greater access to support and legal advice than the victim, and
Ambiguities associated with the definition of ‘abuse’ in the Towards Healing policies and procedures.
The Royal Commission is still seeking submissions on its third issues paper dealing with the creation of child-safe institutions. A fourth issues paper on preventing the sexual abuse of children in out-of-home care was released earlier in September.
All issues papers and public submissions* are published on the Royal Commission’s website: www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au
*Public submissions received by the Royal Commission for Issues Paper No.2 on Towards Healing that discuss principles and procedures are listed on our website in order of receipt. Information has been withheld in accordance with the advertised conditions.
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