NGOs to be Included in Victorian Sexual Abuse Inquiry
17 April 2012 at 3:26 pm
The Victorian Coalition Government has announced a Parliamentary inquiry into the handling of alleged sexual and criminal abuse of children by religious and other organisations.
The inquiry will investigate the practices, policies and protocols of religious and non-government organisations for the handling of allegations of criminal abuse of children by staff within their organisations.
The Premier Ted Baillieu and Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark made the announcement this afternoon.
The inquiry comes after police revealed as many as 40 suicides across Victoria could be linked to abuse by members of the Catholic Church.
The inquiry will also have the power to assess any measures put in place to respond to alleged abuse and to make any necessary recommendations for changes to the law or to relevant policies and practices.
The Government says it has decided to establish the inquiry after giving careful consideration to the report and recommendations of the Cummins Inquiry and to the material put before it by many individuals and groups.
It says it is clear that there have been a substantial number of established complaints of sexual abuse of children by those who have taken advantage of positions of authority.
The inquiry will be conducted by the bipartisan Family and Community Development Committee of Parliament. It will have powers to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence and to summons documents necessary for its deliberations.
Many victims' groups had wanted a royal commission into the matter rather than a cross-party parliamentary committee to hold an inquiry.
The inquiry is expected to run for 12 months.