Australia: Police enquiry finds Catholic church ‘exacerbated’ abuse by mishandling
Deputy Police commissioner Graham Ashton was one of the first people to give testimony at the first hearing of the state inquiry into the handling of sexual abuse by religious and other organisations today.
“Sexual offending in our community is increasing … in any large cross-section of any community you will get sexual offending,” he said.
“The fact that there are then processes that then wrap around an offender in the church cohort only exacerbates that likelihood of offending rather than actually preventing it.”
“Police have concerns that existing protocols are focused on PR … rather than on victims.”
He was sceptical of the Church’s submission to the inquiry, which stated it had reversed its long-held position against mandatory reporting of abuse, except in circumstances where it needed to uphold the sanctity of the confessional.
“The Catholic Church have said that their protocols have changed … if they’re serious then they should be reporting rather than waiting for victims to come forward.”