A ROYAL commission will be held into “vile and evil” child sexual abuse after cabinet today approved Julia Gillard’s plan for Australia’s most extensive inquiry into the protection of minors.
It will look at the history of religious groups, sporting organisations, Scouts and Guides, schools and state institutions.
Ms Gillard said too many children had suffered abuse and too many adults had let them down.
“Any instance of child abuse is an evil and vile thing,” she said.
“It is appropriate for there to be a national response through a royal commission. This, I hope, will help with the healing.”
Ms Gillard said she wanted to ensure “this will never happenThe reach of the national inquiry will be vast and the Government expects it to take a considerable time to conclude after starting in the New Year.
Ms Gillard said she also wanted to take her time to form the terms of reference for the royal commission.
“I want to take the time to get this right,” she said.
“So over the next few weeks we will be consulting with the organisations that represent the survivors of child abuse, with religious organisations, with state and territory government to ensure the terms of reference are right.” again”. No one has been selected as a royal commissioner.
The Prime Minister said there had been too many instances of adults averting their eyes from the abuses and that she was determined that institutions would no longer fail to respond.
She said the focus would be on institutional responses to abuse reports, including those of police.
“There is also, I believe, cause for concern that other adults who could have done something to make a difference to the lives of these children didn’t do what they should have,” the Prime Minister said.
“Either by becoming complicit in children being moved around for example, or by averting their eyes by acts of omission.
“I think we have to learn the lessons about how institutions can best respond when there are allegations of abuse.”
The inquiry would cover children in sate care, under the care of all religious organisations, and those looked after by private groups and schools. It was still not clear whether issues of compensation would be considered.
Ms Gillard said the terms of reference would be drawn up after discussions with religious groups, state leaders and the victims of abuse.
The Prime Minister said she had spoken to Catholic Cardinal George Pell who had been “most co-operative”.
Mr Gillard said she had already spoken to the premiers of NSW and Victoria, states which are already pursuing their own inquiries.
“Both of them are prepared to take a cooperative approach,” she said.
Premier Barry O’Farrell has already set up a Special Commission of Inquiry into allegations involving alleged paedophilia involving the Catholic Church in the Hunter.
Ms Gillard made the announcement after senior NSW police officer Peter Fox broke his silence over an alleged cover-up of a pedophile network inside the Catholic Church.
Earlier, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott backed a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse as long as it was not limited to a single institution.
He said in a statement that “if the government were to propose a royal commission to investigate the sexual abuse of children, it is something the Coalition would be prepared to support”.
Government Whip Joel Fitzgibbon also demanded a Royal Commission in the interests of “the victims, their families and the Catholic Church”.