It makes for horrific reading.
Data presented to the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse is not pleasant to digest.
But it is important.
Whitlam MP and former Edmund Rice College student Stephen Jones was spot on when he described the statistics as “chilling”.
“I am surprised, because you hear lots of stories or you knew stuff growing up in this community, but to see it represented in statistics, it’s chilling,” he said.
- Overall seven per cent of priests were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and 2010.
- In the Diocese of Wollongong, 11.7 per cent of priests were alleged abusers.
- The average age of people who made claims of child sexual abuse, at the time of the alleged abuse, was 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys.
- The average time between the alleged abuse and the date a claim was made was 33 years.
- Where the gender of people making a claim was reported, 78% were male and 22% were female.
- Of all alleged perpetrators, 90% were male and 10% were female.
For too long this habitual abuse was either overlooked or ignored.
Horrifying indeed when you think about the scale and significance of the vast nature of the problem.
Bad enough one child let alone many.
On the data presented to the Royal Commission this region, like many around the country, has suffered more than its fair share of abuse.
CEO of the church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council Francis Sullivan said it all.
“These numbers are shocking, they are tragic and they are indefensible,” he said.
“And each entry in this data, for the most part represents a child who suffered at the hands of someone who should have cared for and protected them.
“The data provides, as best it can, a public accounting of what has occurred; a public record of the number of people coming forward to say they were abused.
“We recognise that many have not come forward and never will.
“As Catholics we hang our heads in shame.”
Strong and powerful words.
By exposing the sins of the fathers let’s make sure it can never happen again.
No longer will these sins be overlooked or ignored.