Newcastle royal commission hearing will reveal ugly truths

Newcastle Herald

IT has been a long time coming.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will open its 42nd case study at Newcastle Courthouse at 10am on Tuesday. For two weeks it is expected to hear evidence about how Newcastle Anglican diocese has dealt with child sex allegations over decades.

More significantly, it will hear evidence from individuals within the diocese, including senior clergy, about what they did, or didn’t do, when allegations were raised by children, and when those children turned to the church for support years later as adults.

There will be shocks, and evidence of cruel and callous treatment by people purporting to be followers of Jesus Christ. There will be grief for victims of child sexual abuse who have not survived to see this day, and grief from survivors for lives they would have lived – but for abuse that darkened their childhoods.

There will be anger. Since the first royal commission public hearing in September 2013, into dreadful systemic failures in Scouts, Hunter Aboriginal Services and the Department of Community Services that allowed Steven Larkins to sexually abuse children for years, there has been anger and outrage, and rightly so.

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