Search Results: child sexual abuse

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Girls are not to blame for their own exploitation

    • Madeleine Hamilton
    • 23 August 2016
    14 Comments

    The response from police and others in authority to recent cases involving the abuse or exploitation of adolescent female sexuality is depressingly reminiscent of attitudes held more than 50 years ago. While it was no defence to argue that the girl had consented, if it could be proven she had had consensual intercourse with other men previously, the offender could be acquitted. Consequently, in carnal knowledge trials, girls were frequently accused of having rich histories of sexual activity.

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  • RELIGION

    Pell abuse saga reeks of incompetent policing

    • Frank Brennan
    • 28 July 2016
    79 Comments

    Wednesday night's ABC 7.30 program carried allegations against Cardinal George Pell which, if true, are devastating: life ruining for victims like Damian Dignan and Lyndon Monument; confronting for all citizens committed to the wellbeing of children; and earth shattering for Catholics who still have faith in their church. The report is also troubling for those of us concerned about due process and the rule of law - not as academic notions for lawyers but as the secure bulwarks of a society in which everyone's rights and interests are protected.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elder abuse thrives on silence

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 June 2016
    12 Comments

    We all know elderly people who are healthy, active, and blessed with loving families. But the image represents only part of the reality of old age. Many elderly people are ill, have lost their partners, live alone with little connection to their families, suffer from incipient dementia, and are dependent on others for the daily business of living. If they appear at all in the media, it is usually in bad news stories. They are seen as people different from us. A significant minority of older people, too, suffer from abuse.

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  • RELIGION

    Catholic bishops deliver election year ethical wedge

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 18 May 2016
    13 Comments

    The bishops speak less trenchantly than Pope Francis, who criticises sharply the assumptions and practices of neoliberal economics. But in the context of this election, they add their voice to that of those who are concerned about economic assumptions that enrich the few and exempt corporations and business from social responsibility. Their statement will encourage those who see the now notorious behaviour of banks, finance business and corporations as symptomatic of a vicious economic ideology.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Kicking corruption in church and police 'closed systems'

    • Paul Coghlan
    • 04 May 2016
    10 Comments

    Having worked in closed organisational systems like Victoria Police and various government departments, I have often reflected on how and at what point organisations and their employees become comfortable with the belief that their ideas and attitudes are better informed than those of the general populous - and that their survival is more important. A very stark example of this are the recent court decisions relating to the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in 1989, where 96 people were killed.

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  • RELIGION

    Neerkol orphanage findings and the place of compassion

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 April 2016
    16 Comments

    The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has now published its Case Study 26 on the Neerkol Orphanage in Rockhampton. It finds that the response by the bishop and by the Sisters of Mercy to victims making complaints prior to 1996 was often inadequate and lacking in compassion. The word 'compassion' or 'compassionate' appears 21 times in the report. I have no problem with church people or other individuals adversely judging church leaders for a lack of compassion. There may even be a case for politicians doing it. But I don't think it's the job of a royal commission.

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  • RELIGION

    Religious thought in sacred secular Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 March 2016
    6 Comments

    I offer no public judgment of Pell, and unlike many other commentators I'll await the findings of the royal commission. I have however been outspoken about his right to a fair hearing and natural justice, not because I am a priest but because I am a human rights lawyer who cares about the universal application of the rule of law. It is when a representative of institutional religion like Pell taps into the generic religious sensibility or moral consciousness that the real work of Australian religious thought is done.

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  • RELIGION

    Year of Mercy's opportunity for Aboriginal reconciliation

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 March 2016

    'On his last two visits to Latin America, Pope Francis has focused on past and present relationships between indigenous peoples and their colonisers. This Jubilee Year of Mercy perhaps it could be a blessed moment for Aboriginal Australians and descendants of their colonisers to walk together through the Door of Mercy at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral, calling to mind the sins and endeavours of the past, the achievements and commitments of the present, and the hopes and aspirations of the future.' Fr Frank Brennan SJ, Lenten Talk, Norwood Parish, 3 March 2016

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abuse survivor reflects on Cardinal Pell's 'sad story'

    • Paul Coghlan
    • 06 March 2016
    42 Comments

    'It was a sad story and it wasn't of much interest to me.' Pell's brutal response to a question from the royal commission has provided an important point of organisational, personal and cultural reflection. As a survivor of child sexual abuse I understand the disbelief, shock and outrage that such a comment has provoked. And having conducted many organisational reviews, I know that in trying to find the origins of such responses, our understanding of how the world works expands exponentially.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Cardinal Pell, Safe Schools and the personhood of children

    • Moira Rayner
    • 03 March 2016
    40 Comments

    A feeding frenzy is afoot over the review of Safe Schools program. At the same time poor old George Pell is under attack for failing to observe that his Ballarat colleagues were prolifically enabling Ridsdale and other pedophiles to sexually abuse little boys. The prurient desire to control the sexual interests of others on the one hand, and on the other the gross failures by institutions to protect vulnerable children in their care, are sadly linked to an unwillingness to face the truth about human sexuality.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Baby Asha and the pyramid of suffering

    • Kate Galloway
    • 23 February 2016
    4 Comments

    It is right and good that the outpouring of community and professional goodwill has at least delayed the return of baby Asha to what are reported to be the terrible conditions of the detention centre on Nauru. But Australia's asylum seeker laws involve unresolved systemic issues that such wins cannot by themselves resolve. Widespread community focus on individual cases such as that of baby Asha may in fact prevent action on the deeper issues from gaining traction.

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  • RELIGION

    An unholy mess

    • Frank Brennan
    • 22 February 2016
    46 Comments

    McClellan and his fellow commissioners on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have a daunting task in the next fortnight, according due process and natural justice to a high profile witness on the other side of the world who has been publicly labeled 'scum', 'buffoon' and a 'coward', being the subject of unauthorised leaks about uninvestigated complaints from a police service which itself is under scrutiny for its past cooperation with the witness and his Church.

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