SYDNEY – Australia will issue a national apology to victims of child sexual abuse in public or religious institutions by the end of the year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday.
“As a nation, we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children, but which was denied to them by the very people who were tasked with their care,” Turnbull said.
The prime minister noted that the victims would be consulted so that they felt comfortable with the process, which would be finalized during the current parliamentary session.
In December 2017, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse presented its final report with more than 400 recommendations on the issue, which was labeled by the Commission as a “national tragedy.”
During the five-year inquiry into the matter, the Commission interviewed more than 8,000 victims who suffered sexual abuse committed by members of over 4,000 public institutions in the country since the 1920s.
More than half of the victims said they were between 10-14 years old when they were sexually molested for the first time and that the abuse lasted for an average of 2.2 years, while 36 percent of them were assaulted by several attackers.
The government will allocate some AU$40 million ($31.3 million) in compensation to the survivors and subsequently implement the recommendations made by the Commission.