Victoria’s sexual abuse total rises by 37 per cent

The Catholic Church in Victoria has revised its figures for the number of people abused by priests and religious, producing a total 37 per cent per cent higher than previously given to the state’s parliamentary inquiry.

In a new submission the Church said it has now identified 849 victims and 269 offenders. The previous submission cited 618 victims.

The offenders included 98 priests, 114 brothers, nine nuns and 42 lay people (40 male and two female). Two were seminarians and four were unknown.

Church spokesman Father Shane Mackinlay said the revised figures were the result of collating submissions to the inquiry by five Church entities: the Melbourne and Ballarat dioceses, and the Christian Brothers, Salesians and St John of God orders.

The oldest abuse cases dated from the 1930s, and the figures were complete to June 30, 2012, Father Mackinlay said.

He still could not guarantee that the figures were comprehensive — for example, they did not include settlements outside the Towards Healing protocol by other religious orders — ”but we’re getting very close”.

He said the original figure of 618 cases was based only on records from the Melbourne Response and Towards Healing protocols, the only ones that held centralised records, but more detailed research was done as the Church groups prepared to give evidence.

The new figures were submitted on June 6, one day before the deadline for written submissions.

Asked if the Church could have prepared the numbers in time for the public hearings — at which the number of 618 victims was frequently quoted — Father Mackinlay said the Church had done it as early as possible.

“This is the earliest opportunity we’ve had in working with the detail of the figures and reconciling them,” he said.

Father Mackinlay said the Church’s priority was to help and not to count victims.


The Age

The Age

Image: JW News

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , , ,