A sexual assault survivor who was abused for years at a Wodonga Catholic institution has been stunned by the High Court decision which has freed Cardinal George Pell.
Rhonda Janetzki is worried about the impact Tuesday's ruling will have on victims of childhood abuse.
"My greatest fear is we will see more self harm and it's going to stop more people from coming forward," she said.
"We're not believed.
"I have lost complete faith in the whole of Australia's jury system and its legal system.
"The royal commission said that children must be believed, but it's not happening."
Ms Janetzki said it took her more than 40 years to open up about the abuse she suffered at the Sisters of Mercy institution between the ages of 10 and 13.
One of the struggles in revealing such abuse was the thought of people not believing it, she said.
"When you disclose something like that, you live with it for years," Ms Janetzki said.
"You live with the shame and the guilt because you think it's your fault, that you must have done something to make it happen or allow it to happen.
"So when you get to a stage where you can finally tell someone it's opening up a Pandora's box.
"You've got to relive it, you've got to go through it all again.
"So no one does that when they're not telling the truth."
While Ms Janetzki said the royal commission and original Pell verdict told victims they were being listened to, but said Tuesday's verdict sent the opposite message.
"It gave me and a lot of people hope that they were finally being believed, and the ones that could be prosecuted were being prosecuted," Ms Janetzki said.
"The Catholic Church is nothing but a brainwashing cult that allowed these people to abuse children for years and years and years.
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"They knew it was happening but turned their backs on the children and just protected their own."
Victoria Police released a statement after the High Court order.
"We respect the decision of the High Court in this matter and continue to provide support to those complainants involved," it said.
"Victoria Police remains committed to investigating sexual assault offences and providing justice for victims no matter how many years have passed."
Cardinal Pell continued to deny the allegations made against him and said the trial wasn't a referendum on the Catholic Church.
"I have consistently maintained my innocence while suffering from a serious injustice," he said.
"This has been remedied today with the High Court's unanimous decision.
"However my trial was not a referendum on the Catholic Church; nor a referendum on how church authorities in Australia dealt with the crime of paedophilia in the church.
"The point was whether I had committed these awful crimes, and I did not."
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