Altar boys say they were abused by priests at the Vatican

Former altar boys have claimed they were molested by priests inside the Vatican, as a lingering scandal surrounding widespread abuse in the Catholic Church erupts at its headquarters once again.

Several anonymous former altar boys at the Vatican’s youth seminary alleged at least two priests kissed and fondled three of them in the Nineties.

The claims will be aired on Sunday on Le Iene (“The Hyenas”), an Italian investigative TV programme, which first broke allegations in 2017 that the senior seminarian, now a priest, had sexually abused teenagers who served as altar boys at papal masses in St Peter’s Basilica.

Published in Independent

read more…

‘You ruined me’: New Zealand’s abuse survivors speak at landmark inquiry

Survivors are given a voice at first public hearings of investigation into historical abuse of thousands of children in state and faith-based care.

On the morning Annasophia Calman is due to testify in public about a childhood destroyed at the hands of her father and the state, she eats scrambled eggs on toast and paces back and forth in the hallway outside her hotel room.

Published in The Guardian

read more…

Victims of child sex abuse still face significant legal barriers suing churches – here’s why

Following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, we are witnessing a wave of legal reforms across Australia aimed at helping survivors seek justice.

Most visibly, there is the National Redress Scheme, which provides victims access to counselling, a response from the institution where they were abused and payment of up to $150,000.

Published in The Conversation

read more…

Majority of sexual violence incidents reported to police are children or young people

The majority of 23,000 sexual violence incidents reported to police during the past five years were experienced by children or young people, according to a new Ministry of Justice report.

It reveals that for every 100 sexual violence incidents reported to the police, only 31 made it to court, 11 resulted in a conviction and six in imprisonment.

The report, Attrition and progression: Reported sexual violence victimisations in the criminal justice system, which was released on Friday, analysed 23,739 incidents that were reported between July 2014 and June 2018. The figures will now be updated annually.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Samoa Methodist minister faces 10 charges over sexual allegations

Samoa police have finalised criminal charges against a 51-year-old reverend of the Methodist Church, Tugia Tuliau, who is facing 10 counts.

Charges include one of rape and seven of sexual misconduct with a family member, as well as an indecent act to a dependent member of his family, who is a girl under 16 years of age.

The accused has appeared in the Supreme Court for the second time, with the case being adjourned without a plea being entered until next Monday to allow the defence lawyer to talk with his client.

The accused has been stripped of his pastoral roles.

The alleged offences happened when Mr Tuliau was serving at the Satalo Methodist Church.

Published in Radio New Zealand
4 November 2019

Child sexual abuse inquiry criticises lack of cooperation from Vatican

The Vatican’s repeated refusal to cooperate with official investigations into paedophile priests and its delay in stripping convicted offenders of their clerical status has been condemned by the UK’s child sexual abuse inquiry.

In a highly critical attack on the papacy’s stonewalling response to decades of complaints, the lead counsel to the inquiry, Brian Altman QC, said it was “very disappointing” that significant evidence and statements had been withheld.

Published in The Guardian

read more…

11 percent of reported sexual violence cases end in conviction – report

Less than a third of sexual violence cases reported to the police make it court, according to a new report released by the Ministry of Justice.

Out of the almost 24,000 cases of sexual violence reports made to police between July 2014 and June last year, just 11 percent resulted in a conviction.

The government and advocacy groups say progress is being made, but a lot more work needs to be done.

Published in Radio New Zealand

read more…

What to expect from the long-awaited Abuse in Care Royal Commission

Analysis: A long time coming. Finally, after months of haggling over terms of reference, years of steadily growing political discussion and decades of pressure from those who experienced this vast subject first-hand, the Abuse in Care Royal Commission is ready to roll.

An avalanche of new material is in store for those whose job it will be to sift the evidence that will for the first time be publicly given at a preliminary contextual hearing in Auckland starting this Tuesday.

Published in Radio New Zealand

read more…

Abuse Inquiry: Claims of historical child rape at state-owned care institutions heard

Survivors of historical cases of child rape, violence and neglect at state-owned care institutions are being officially heard for the first time.

Witnesses on Tuesday began giving evidence at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, the biggest inquiry ever to have looked into what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care between 1950 and 1999.

Keith Wiffin told the commission he was first abused aged 10 by a house master while he was at Epuni Boys Home. He’d been sent there after his father’s death left Wiffin’s mother unable to care for her four children.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Witnesses give evidence at Royal Commission inquiry into abuse in state care

Witnesses have this morning begun giving evidence at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care.

One of the first to appear will be high-profile former prisoner Arthur Taylor, who will describe the abuse he suffered in a boy’s home.

Twenty-eight people will share their experiences of being in the system between 1950 and 1999 over the coming weeks.

A final report from the inquiry is not expected until 2023.

Watch video (from TVNZ)

Published in TVNZ
30 October 2019

Resignation ahead of Royal Commission public hearings

Warning: This story discusses issues related to rape and sexual violence.

As the Royal Commission of Inquiry into State Abuse begins public hearings, its survivor advisory group is in disarray. Laura Walters talks to these survivors about the ongoing issues, and why they still think others should come forward to share their stories.

On Tuesday, a group of abuse survivors will stand outside the Rydges Hotel in Auckland in a show of solidarity with others coming to share their experiences with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

They are all members of the seminal Survivor Advisory Group – a group that has been plagued with ongoing issues.

Published in Newsroom

read more…

Greater transparency wanted over agreement

A support group for survivors of sexual abuse by priests wants more transparency over an agreement struck with the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin.

But the call by Dr Christopher Longhurst, representing the New Zealand branch of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap), has also triggered an acrimonious exchange with another support group.

Published in Otago Daily Times

read more…

Man continues fights against church

A Melbourne man is fighting to hold the Catholic church accountable for three clerics and a teacher who sexually violated him as a boy in Otago. Marc – RNZ won’t use his surname – has come back to New Zealand to give evidence and to beg the Royal Commission to weigh in on his second bid for some kind of justice. Phil Pennington reports.

Listen the the story

By Morning Report
Published in Radio New Zealand
11 October 2019

Catholic bishop of Palmerston North Charles Drennan expected to resign

The Catholic bishop of Palmerston North is expected to resign after less than eight years in the job.

Stuff understands Pope Francis has been asked, or will be asked on Friday, to accept 59-year-old Bishop Charles Drennan’s​ resignation. The reasons for the resignation are not known.

Drennan has been the only bishop on the support group known as Te Rōpū Tautoko, which was set up to manage co-operation between the Catholic Church and the Abuse in Care Royal Commission.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Confidentiality clauses: Bishops ‘lack moral leadership’

New Zealand’s Catholic bishops have been accused of lacking moral leadership as church groups decide whether to waive confidentiality clauses in compensation agreements reached with abuse survivors.

Survivor advocates say bishops’ silence on the issue, as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse gears up for public hearings, goes against recent edicts by Pope Francis directing senior clerics to build trust with survivors by being transparent and ensuring victims’ voices are heard.

Published in Radio New Zealand

read more…

Royal Commission: Calls for commissioner Paul Gibson to step down

The commissioner embroiled in the latest scandal at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care says he won’t be stepping down.

Paul Gibson is responsible for the group of sexual abuse survivors who advise the Royal Commission as it investigates historical abuse of children in state and church care.

Yesterday it was revealed that a partner of one of the advisory group members is a convicted child sex offender and has attended gatherings alongside members of the group.

Published in Radio New Zealand

read more…

Sex offender in inquiry meetings: Minister says her hands are tied

Warning: This story discusses issues related to rape and sexual violence.

Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin says she is “horrified” that a child sex offender attended meetings of the inquiry into state abuse of children but that there isn’t much she can do about it.

Newsroom reported on Tuesday that the Royal Commission into state abuse of children allowed a convicted child sex offender into three meetings with survivors.

The man is the partner of one of advisory group members and was attending as a support person. The commission was told that the man needed to notify police ahead of any travel.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Child sex offender’s presence at abuse inquiry ‘sickens’ panel members

Warning: This story discusses issues related to rape and sexual violence.

A member of a survivors’ group advising the Government’s abuse in care inquiry has skipped its latest meeting after revelations her partner is a convicted paedophile.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into state of faith-based care appointed 18 people, themselves victims of abuse, to a survivors’ advisory group early this year.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Sexual Violence Court pilot shows trial time reduction

A report evaluating the pilot of New Zealand’s first Sexual Violence Court says pilot cases are proceeding to jury trial about a third faster on average than previously.

The evaluation also says that most complainants feel the pilot’s trials are managed in a way that does not cause them to feel retraumatised by the process.

The pilot has been running in the District Court at Auckland and Whangārei since December 2016 for all serious (Category 3) sexual violence cases to be heard by a jury. The pilot set out to reduce pre-trial delays and improve the court experience for participants.

Published in New Zealand Law Society

read more…

Family of George Pell victim ‘beyond disappointed’ at High Court appeal

Pedophile cardinal George Pell has lodged a special leave application with the High Court to try to challenge his convictions for sexually abusing choirboys.

The 78-year-old pedophile remained behind bars on Tuesday as his lawyers lodged a special leave application with Australia’s highest court.

A spokesperson for the High Court confirmed it had received the application through its Melbourne registry, “requesting leave to appeal a decision”.

Published in SBS

read more…

Childhood horrors laid bare as survivors talk of sexual abuse

Tears have taken up residence behind Grant West’s bright blue eyes.

He is 57 years old, a burly Kiwi living in Australia with bleach-tipped hair and a crumpled leather jacket.

By his estimate, he was sexually abused by 60 to 80 men by the time he turned 18. Just two of them faced justice.

His first abuser was his mother, he says. He was 4.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Underfunded mental health services to get funding boost

The government has announced it is boosting the funding of more than 20 existing underfunded mental health services.

It is also allocating $30 million for the creation of new front-line services that will start operating early next year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark made the announcement in Auckland this morning.

Published in Radio New Zealand

read more…

Catholic Church admits liability for paedophile Gerald Ridsdale’s crimes

The Catholic Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old boy by notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case which could open the floodgates for victims seeking compensation.

After denying any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending before the boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake in 1982, lawyers for the church on Friday accepted an amended statement of claim from the victim in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.

Published in The Age

read more…

Report shows $630 million government funding shortfall for community social services – Press release

The government is underfunding social service providers delivering services that are essential to the wellbeing of New Zealand children, families, whānau and communities by an estimated $630 million a year, an independent study has found.

The study found that the government funds social service providers for less than two thirds of the actual costs of delivering the essential services they are contracted to provide, often for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.

Download the Press Release (PDF)

By Social Services Providers Aotearoa
2 September 2019

Health authorities urged to target growing male suicide

Warning: This story deals with the topic of suicide.

Health authorities are being urged to target a growing number of young men dying by suicide.

Figures released on Monday show 112 of the 685 people to die by suicide in the year to June 2019 were men aged 15 to 24.

More than three in every 10,000 young men aged 20 to 24 died by suicide, and men of all age groups made up 68 per cent of suicides.

Victoria University lecturer Dr Chris Bowden said the high rate was due to the “invisibility of men in previous suicide prevention”.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Suicide rates rise to highest-ever level

Warning: This story deals with the topic of suicide.

The number of suicides in New Zealand has reached its highest-ever level, with 685 people dying in the year to June 30.

That compares to the 2018 road toll where 377 lives were lost.

Published in Stuff

read more…

Kristina Keneally blasts Melbourne archbishop for claiming George Pell is innocent

The Labor senator Kristina Keneally has blasted Melbourne’s Catholic archbishop for his response to Cardinal George Pell losing his appeal against child sexual abuse convictions.

Keneally, herself a prominent Catholic, said she was gobsmacked that Archbishop Peter Comensoli‏ had maintained that Pell was innocent and had questioned whether his victim was mistaken. “It’s distressing for so many reasons,” she told Sky News on Sunday.

Published in The Guardian

read more…

‘He was a witness of truth’: why the judges decided Cardinal George Pell was guilty

On Wednesday, Cardinal George Pell lost his appeal to overturn a conviction of child sexual assault.

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, Justice Chris Maxwell and Justice Mark Weinberg of the Victorian supreme court published their reasons in a 323-page judgment, along with a seven-page summary.

Ferguson and Maxwell found that the jury’s initial verdict was not unreasonable, while Weinberg, in dissent, said it should be overturned. Below are the excerpts that best summarise why and how that judgment was reached.

Published in The Guardian

read more…

New paper – Circumcision: A controversial topic

In response to concerns expressed within our survivor community, and to foster a more informed understanding of male circumcision as it presents in our contemporary society, MSA commissioned the attached literature review titled “Circumcision: A controversial topic.”

This paper also references another discussion on the ethical considerations of circumcision titled “Genital Autonomy and Sexual Wellbeing”, which has been included in our web Research archive to further inform our readers.

Download the PDF

read more…