Cathy McGowan has called on churches to show more “humility” to help improve the situation for survivors of child sexual abuse.
The Indi MP spoke in parliament yesterday in support of a national redress scheme for institutional child sex abuse, which will give survivors access of up to $150,000 in compensation.
She said religious institutions needed to improve their culture, so this never happens again, and be transparent in their responses.
“It can’t just be done in private. We need public recognition from our institutions that serious hurt has been caused, that they are going to make appropriate changes to the way they do things and then work with survivors to actually improve the situation,” Ms McGowan said.
“While I understand some institutions have gone some way in this regard, I think there is more that can be done in terms of humility, in practical signs of sorrow.”
She said the Sandhurst Diocese, which covers North East and Central Victoria, had no incidents after 2000 and no priests employed after 1990 were accused of any offences.
“Poor old Sandhurst is in a rural country electorate … so I think what happened is that these priests and brothers and others got sent to the country, and we poor, almost defenseless country communities had nowhere to go,” she said.
“When I see it borne out in these statistics, it makes me even more sad to think the institutionalised church would do that.”
Ms McGowan said it was good to see the Sandhurst Diocese apologise to victims, but it did not take away the stain and lack of trust.