David Marr’s reporting continues; on the testimony of Joan Isaacs.
The council has already conceded in its submission to the royal commission that Towards Healing is opaque in its workings; inconsistent in its outcomes; operates without central oversight; and might be seen as lacking independence as it investigates abuse.
“It is now clearer than ever that the time has come for the church to hand over the determination of victims’ compensation to an independent process,” Sullivan told his Ballarat audience. “We are recommending a national compensation scheme, independent of the church that would determine payments.”
Sullivan doesn’t mean the courts where the church and its insurers continue to play hardball with victims such as Joan Isaacs. She is the first of the four. We know her name and saw her face. Most of this week will be spent examining her case.
When she began to read her statement in a slightly faltering voice the feeling in the hearing room changed. The commissioners lowered their eyes; the lawyers were still; there was absolute silence.
Not a moment for bible quotations? Not a place for hypocritical invocations of pseudo-compassion for thelittlechildren?
“From 1967 to 1968, I was sexually abused by Father Francis Derriman who was a priest of the archdiocese of Brisbane and chaplain of Sacred Heart Sandgate for those two years. I was aged 14 to 15 at the time of the abuse …”
And when she finished half an hour later I heard something I have never heard before at a royal commission: applause. McClellan did nothing to reproach the gallery. The applause rolled on. Isaacs said very softly to the room: “Thank you.”
Handy-dandy, which is the beggar, which the thief.