Monday, 20 January 2014

Survivors Insights ignored by The Church and The State

Again and again we see that Survivors insights and experience, and thus their real needs, are to a large degree sidelined as both Government and The Church craft 'responses' to the situation.

We are invited to make representations, we are to a degree
consulted, yet in the finalised outcomes the decisions made are from the point of view of Government and The Church and how they wish to frame their liabilities, and the consultation appears to be a matter of form, rather than substance.

In recent days we have had the completion of the 
review by the United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Child in Geneva of The Vatican's response to the world wide child abuse issue within it's own institutions, and the announcement of  the Irish Catholic Church's 'Towards Peace' support service.

United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Child has criticised the Vatican for it's actions to the present date, and as yet has to issue further comments and determine further action.

Eyewitness accounts and the transcripts will show that The Vatican has not altered it's course and is maintaining a strategic approach to the 'problem', rather than being open, honest, vulnerable and seeking a just resolution for all concerned.

The 'Towards Peace' support service has been launched without the detailed input of survivors, which had been promised. However what is true of the Vatican is also true of The Irish Catholic Church. Their approach is strategic, rather than open and honest.

In Australia, there is
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse which has been working since early April 2013, and is continuing as I write. In this inquiry over 5000 survivors gave evidence, as did the Church and other bodies... One of the targets of this Inquiry is the "Towards Healing" process crafted under the aegis of Archbishop Pell in Melbourne, for whom Tony Abbot has recently issued statements of support.

And yet again, at this level of Inquiry, we see the same 'strategic' approach from the Australian Catholic Church, although with the evidence of 5000 people to counter it, it will take some assistance from the Abbot Government to 'help' the Church 'manage' this situation.

"To date evidence showed the process failed some abuse victims who found it as traumatic as the original abuse because of the legalistic approach taken by the church.

Towards Healing will be the subject of several case studies by the commission which will hold public hearings in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia as well as in NSW before June this year"

This same approach, that of acknowledging abuse only when Survviors come forward into the public domain, and then 'managing' the response to protect the status and image of both Church and State has been seen in every case where Survivors have come forward.

Across the world, both The State and it's institutions and The Church and it's institutions  are obviously concerned about their roles in the abuse, the cover-ups and mismanagement of investigations, and understand that they have a liability that can be expanded if they are 100% honest and they seek to reduce or minimise that liability.

Whilst this is to be expected and is indeed standard corporate practice, it remains the fact that it is moral cowardice, and that Survivors lives are impacted by this management approach. It is also true that this impacts not only the Survivor, but their families and the wider society, as well as doing little to protect children, and other vulnerable people, from future abuses.

It also is a misunderstanding of the intent of the vast majority of Survivors, whose aim is to a) have the truth told and understood b) prevent further abuses (and the 'management' of exposure of abuse) c) regain some degree of healing in our own lives, and in the life of the community, the State and The Church.

We Survivors are gifting the world with our concern, our stories. The changes we represent can only increase nurturing in our Society. That's the fullest truth here.

It's long past the time that all this was recognised and responded to accordingly, not only by Government and The Church, but by society at large, by the people who sit in pews and pray and by all parents and caring people.

Kindest regards


Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe

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