Terms of Reference for the inquiry into Church sexual abuse
The Ballarat Courier
Retired judge Phillip Cummins called for an investigation "into the processes by which religious organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children by religious personnel within their organisations."
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and Ballarat Bishop Peter Connors have both stated the church will co-operate with any independent child sex abuse inquiry.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Family and Community Development Committee is requested to inquire into, consider and report to the Parliament on the processes by which religious and other non-government organisations respond to the criminal abuse of children by personnel within their organisations, including
- the practices, policies and protocols in such organisations for the handling of allegations of criminal abuse of children, including measures put in place by various organisations in response to concerns about such abuse within the organisation or the potential for such abuse to occur;
- whether there are systemic practices in such organisations that operate to preclude or discourage the reporting of suspected criminal abuse of children to State authorities; and
- whether changes to law or to practices, policies and protocols in such organisations are required to help prevent criminal abuse of children by personnel in such organisations and to deal with allegations of such abuse.
In undertaking the inquiry, the Committee should be mindful of not encroaching upon the responsibilities of investigatory agencies or the courts in relation to particular cases or prejudicing the conduct or outcome of investigations or court proceedings.
The Committee is requested to report to the Parliament no later than 30 April 2013.