‘catholic Church Thinks It’s above the Law’: Sex Abuse Survivor Hits out
STARTS AT 60
October 18, 2018
Child abuse survivor, social worker, fierce campaigner; these are just a few ways to describe the inspirational Steve Fisher, whose fighting spirit has helped to change the future of thousands across the country.
Sexually abused by notorious pedophile priest Garth Hawkins when just a teenager, the Beyond Abuse founder has made it his mission to ensure other victims across the country receive the justice they deserve.
For the past 18 years Steve has fought for a change in laws to lift the veil of secrecy currently protecting priests from reporting sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy.
Now, the survivor has finally reached success in his home state of Tasmania, as the government moves to enforce the law, following in the lead of South Australia.
Although incredibly rewarding, the battle for change hasn’t been easy for Steve, who was one of seven victims Hawkins abused throughout the 1970s and ’80s. While the pedophile priest, who now goes by the name of Robin Goodfellow, was convicted of his crimes and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in 2003, it hasn’t dulled the pain and emotions brought up by the experience.
“It is quite emotional,” Steve told Starts at 60. “But campaigning for change and seeing that happen is part of my healing process. It does take a lot of time and emotional energy, however, I always think if it helps one person it’s worth it.”
Earlier this month the Tasmanian Government unveiled draft legislation outlining the decision to make mandatory reporting a criminal matter. While many public sector workers already face fines if they fail to report suspected abuse, until now priests have been able to keep those details secret.
For Steve, this has been the cause of much frustration as he tries to understand how the Catholic Church has remained an exception to the law.