A new report shows that in the past few decades 7% of the priests associated with Australia’s Catholic Church were accused of sexually molesting and abusing children.
On Monday, Australian officials from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released unnerving statistics depicting the true extent of the crisis.
The investigation had initially begun in 2013, but an eye-opening statistics report was only just unveiled this week.
In the last four years, victims and eyewitnesses have given detailed testimonies regarding abuses received or seen by the priests of the church.
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Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission, revealed that 4,444 people reported sexual abuse from priests between the years 1980 and 2015. Over one thousand Catholic institutions were named in the report.
What is more troubling is the average age of the abused victim. For boys, the average age in the statistical report was eleven years old, while the average for girls was ten years old.
“These numbers are shocking, they are tragic and they are indefensible,” Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council, told the commission. “As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame.”
Sullivan, through tear-filled eyes, stated the data reflected “a massive failure” by the church to protect the young children of Australia.
The commission’s final report is expected to be concluded by the end of 2017.
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