The church and its insurers continue to play hardball with victims

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.


  1. Wylann says

    Oh, but they said they were sorry. What more do you really want?

    I can’t believe anyone can put money in the collection plate and still look at themselves in a mirror.

  2. says

    I can’t believe anyone can put money in the collection plate and still look at themselves in a mirror.

    Or think that they’re going to “heaven” for supporting the activities of the church.

  3. says

    It’s not unsurprising to learn that the “largest number of complaints was against the Christian Brothers, followed by the Marist Brothers and the De La Salle brothers.” The first and last aforementioned were well known for their brutality in Ireland. Indeed, the CBs gave the Irish Commission (CICA) a dog’s life. There was also an ex- De-La- Salle seminarian apologist who hounded survivors for years. I guess his MO was to do a B.A. in history on said subject.

    Doubtless, the Australians, who brought a contingency of experts to ireland to learn about institutional child abuse will have learned many lessons and not fall into too many traps.

    I wish the Australian survivors all the best. There’ll be tough times ahead.

  4. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    For those who are not aware, Australian Royal Commissions can have real teeth. This is not going to be any kind of whitewashing if past commission are anything to go by.

  5. medivh says

    FossilFishy: I’m hopeful, but with the Mad Monk as our prime minister, things could go really badly.

  6. says

    Julia Gillard, who first established the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will be sorely missed. She was also responsible for the apology to the victims of Forced adoption in Australia. The incumbent Liberal MP Tony Abbot, aka Mad Monk will certainly have to prove himself in that sphere.

    What a bad start off with biblical invocations such as… suferlittlechildren to come unto me. For in essence theirs was the kingdom of HELL.

    I was asked to place my hand on the bible during the Irish Commission investigation. I flatly refused.

    There were a lot of premature deaths and suicides during the course of the Irish CICA. I hope that won’t happen with the Australian investigations.

    I learned in recent years that Irish relatives in the long distant past settled and died in Ballarat. They were extremely conservative Roman Catholics. I wonder what they would make of all this RC church scandal if they were around today?

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