Oakleigh Couple Welcome Church Sex Abuse Inquiry Call

By Tim Michell
Waverley Leader
February 29, 2012

Chrissie and Anthony Foster

AN OAKLEIGH couple devastated by church sexual abuses has welcomed a recommendation for a state government investigation.

The Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry was tabled in parliament yesterday, with recommendations to investigate the reporting of sexual abuse in religious organisations.

The recommendation left Oakleigh parents Chrissie and Anthony Foster, who have campaigned for justice for their daughters for years, hopeful an investigation could be launched in the next month.

The recommendation read: "A formal investigation should be conducted into the processes by which religious organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children by religious personnel within their organisations.

"Such an investigation should possess the powers to compel the elicitation of witness evidence and of documentary and electronic evidence."

Ms Foster said she finally felt as if "someone was listening".

"There's been no recourse for victims for decades," Ms Foster said.

"The only option has been to go back to the church, where often crimes have been hidden."

A spokesman for Attorney-General Robert Clark, James Copsey, said the government had been awaiting the findings of the Cummins' report before making a decision.

"These findings and recommendations will now be given serious and careful consideration by the government and further announcements will be made as soon as this consideration is complete," Mr Copsey said.

Ms Foster said she was unsure whether the State Government would adopt the terms of reference she compiled with her husband and Oakleigh MP Ann Barker.

The Leader is seeking comment from the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

For more reaction to the recommendation, read next week's Leader.


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