Special Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to the Police investigation of certain child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
My office continues to work with victims and survivors of abuse and their support groups, and many hope that the Special Commission in the Hunter will give them some answers. The Greens believe that while the inquiry Terms of Reference are too narrow (focusing only on two priests and linked to the police response in the Hunter valley) it can play an important role in uncovering the truth and achieving some measure of justice.
There have been some concerns raised with my office about the relatively limited Terms of Reference for this inquiry, and the possibility that the focus of the inquiry will be a forensic testing of the individual claims of Detective Inspector Peter Fox, rather than an inquiry into the actual conduct and failures of the Church and other organisations.
Abuse by clergy and the failings of the police are not limited to the Hunter; this inquiry represents a unique opportunity to hear from victims and survivors of abuse and their families. It is also a chance to look behind the secretive veil of police investigations and church machinations to find out how these key institutions have failed to protect children and hold perpetrators to account.
The ongoing impact of clergy sexual abuse should not be underestimated, and we must all play a role in the pursuit of justice and truth for those who have not been heard.