Australia sexual abuse: PM accepts landmark inquiry proposals

Australia (HRNW): The Australian government has accepted almost all recommendations from a landmark inquiry into child sexual abuse as it prepares to deliver a national apology to victims. The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions. PM Malcolm Turnbull said that his government would act on 104 of 122 official recommendations. The remaining 18 had not been ruled out, he added. The survivors have told their stories and we must honour them,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Ensure that out of their suffering, out of that abuse, comes lasting reform so what they suffered – the wrongs that were inflicted on them – can never happen again.” The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, heard more than 8,000 testimonies about abuse in churches, schools and sports clubs.

Its final report made more than 400 recommendations across government and other institutional sectors, including calling on the Catholic Church to change its rules on celibacy and confession. Of the 122 proposals directed at the federal government, Mr Turnbull said 18 needed further discussion – including with state governments – before being accepted. A key recommendation to establish a National Office for Child Safety was among the proposals that were adopted. A national redress scheme, the subject of more than 80 recommendations, will begin on 1 July. It has the support of all states and territory governments, as well as numerous organisations. Mr Turnbull said more than 90% of survivors would be eligible to claim payments of up to A$150,000 (£85,000; $110,000) each. The Catholic Church, which drew the highest number of abuse complaints, has said it will join the scheme. It has ruled out making changes to confession.

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