After several years of research and hearings has revealed the scope of sexual violence against children in the Australian Catholic Church.
In the period from 1950 to 2015, 7% of Australian priests were accused of raping children in accordance with the Royal Commission for the investigation and response over the sexual abuse of children. Officer Francis Sullivan said out loud on Monday, "These numbers are shocking. They are tragic, they are inexcusable."
The Commission's findings provide even more evidence of the global epidemic of sexual violence and cover-UPS within the Church. Previous reports have documented widespread abuse in the United States, Ireland, Brazil, the Netherlands and Germany, among other countries.
The Vatican established a Commission to investigate allegations of sexual violence in 2013, while in 2015, Pope Francis created a Church Tribunal to judge the bishops, who are unable to protect children from predatory priests. The priests who were accused of abuse were moved to other communities where "knew nothing about their past," said senior adviser Furness. The Commission held 50 hearings since it was established in 2013, and history of sexual abuse in the Australian Catholic Church has been well documented. However, most of the evidence to date has been anecdotal. The Commission found that in the period from January 1980 to February 2015, there were 4,444 victims of alleged sexual violence.
Three separate surveys of data and witness testimony, the Commission found that 7% of the priests belonging to 75 Catholic Church authorities were alleged criminals. The average age of victims at time of abuse was 10 years for girls and 11 for boys. Of the alleged offenders, 32% were religious brothers, 30% were priests, 29% were laity and 5% were religious sisters.
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