Church elders front abuse inquiry

ABC News

The Victorian Parliamentary inquiry in to abuse today heard from church elders about their handling of the issue.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Relatives and victims of countless cases of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church have waited years to hear the Church’s leaders explain their handling of the scandal.

Today, Church elders finally stepped up to faced questions at a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria.

Among them were the leaders of the Ballarat Diocese, where there’ve been 116 substantiated cases of abuse, 67 of them committed by a single priest. There’ve also been up to 50 suicides as a result.

This afternoon, the Ballarat Diocese revealed that not one of these cases was reported to police and victims groups remain outraged as they await the Federal Government’s Royal Commission.

National affairs correspondent Heather Ewart reports.

HEATHER EWART, REPORTER: The Catholic diocese of Ballarat is where some of the worst sexual abuse exposed within the Catholic Church took place. From at least the 1970s onwards, we now know more than 100 children were abused there by Catholic clergy. Up to 50 of those victims have since committed suicide.

STEPHEN WOODS (2011): The sheer number of victims and the sheer amount of assaults and rapes that went on is just hideous.

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