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Australia sexual abuse: National apology delivered to victims

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given a national apology to victims of child sexual abuse.

Hundreds of people gathered in Canberra on Monday to hear Mr Morrison deliver the emotional address in parliament.

It follows a five-year inquiry which found tens of thousands of children had suffered abused in the nation’s institutions over decades.

“Today, we finally acknowledge and confront the lost screams of our children,” he said.

“We must be so humble to fall before those who were forsaken and beg to them our apology.”

The inquiry, which concluded last December, heard more than 8,000 testimonies from victims about abuse in organisations such as churches, schools and sports clubs.

Mr Morrison acknowledged their suffering as well as failures by institutions to protect them.

“Why has it taken so long to act? Why were other things more important than this, the care of innocent children? Why didn’t we believe?” he said.

Action urged

Support groups said victims and their supporters had travelled from around the nation to hear the apology.

“They are coming with very heavy hearts,” said Leonie Sheedy, the chief executive of Care Leavers Australasia Network.

“It is a wonderful thing our country’s apologising, but there is so much more work to be done.”

Many survivors have criticised the government’s response to the inquiry – especially over the terms of a national compensation scheme.

Victims are eligible to apply for payments of up to A$150,000 (£80,000; $106,000) each.

In August, the Catholic Church formally rejected one recommendation made by the inquiry that priests should be forced to report sexual abuse disclosed during confession.

 

 

Source: bbc

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