24 April 2014

Dear Parents/Caregivers

From April 28, 2014 the Commission will visit Perth to commence public hearings into historical child sexual abuse allegations at facilities operated by the Christian Brothers, specifically Castledare, Clontarf, Bindoon and Tardun.

Though the incidents being examined are some 50 years ago, I am very conscious that the hurt, suffering and sense of betrayal have not diminished with the passage of time for the victims and their families.

In its work to date, the Commission has uncovered many harrowing stories from around Australia of abuse that are both shocking and difficult to hear. As a faith community it has never been more important for us to stand together and support our friends and students past and present who may have been a victim of, or affected by, child sexual abuse.

As I have previously indicated, I together with the Bishops remain fully supportive of the critical work of the Royal Commission. I remain hopeful that claims of systemic failures by institutions including the Catholic Church in response to child sexual abuse are thoroughly examined so that children will be better protected against abuse, perpetrators held to account and that victims are provided with justice.

To support the Catholic education community access to EAP counselling (ACCESS Programs) 1300 66 77 00 for the duration of the hearing has been provided. This counselling is open to any parent from our Catholic school community.

During the Royal Commission there will be a Vigil in the Chapel of St Michael the Archangel here at the Catholic Education Office, 50 Ruislip Street Leederville providing an opportunity to offer prayerful support and solidarity and open to all in the Catholic community.

Details for the Vigil are as follows:
April 28 to May 7 every evening 4.00pm – 8.00pm
May 8 and 9 all day 8.00am – 8.00pm

I want to once again reassure you that the safety and wellbeing of your child is, and always...