Vic Government Increases Resources to Child Abuse Inquiry
24 July 2012 at 2:59 pm
The Victorian Government has been forced to provide additional resources for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by non-government organisations after growing community disquiet.
The Victorian Coalition Government has confirmed it will provide additional resources for the Parliamentary Inquiry by the Family and Community Development Committee into the handling of allegations of criminal abuse of children by religious and other non-government organisations.
The Premier Ted Baillieu has written to the Parliament confirming that the Government will provide resources for the following personnel to assist the inquiry including:
- a senior legal adviser
- a solicitor
- a senior retired police officer
- counsellors to provide support to witnesses and members of the public involved in the inquiry
- a communications/public affairs officer
- a community engagement officer
- an additional administrative support officer
A spokesperson for the Government says the arrangements for the engagement or secondment of suitably qualified individuals to fill these roles are currently being finalised.
The spokesperson says these resources are in addition to the existing budget funding for Parliamentary committees.
The Government says that further resources are required once the Inquiry is underway, iit will consider any requests as they arise.
In April, the Government announced the inquiry would 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 Inquiry was announced after police revealed as many as 40 suicides across Victoria could be linked to abuse by members of the Catholic Church.
Many victims' groups had wanted a Royal Commission into the matter rather than a cross-party parliamentary committee to hold an inquiry.
The bi-partisan committee comprises of four Liberal and two Labor MPs including Labor MP Frank McGuire. At the time McGuire said the Parliamentary Committee had multiple responsibilities and a brief to report within 12 months and could not be expected to deal with the magnitude of the problem.
At the time McGuire told the ABC he thought it would be more appropriate if the Inquiry was conducted by a retired Supreme Court judge, or an eminent Queen's Counsel, or senior counsel with expertise in this area.