Similarities with new enquiry in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s enquiry into childhood sexual abuse will be running at around the same time as Australia’s Royal Commission. Sir Anthony Hart, the enquiry’s Chairman expects to investigate at least 35 institutions in the state of Northern Ireland. This is a massive number of institutions for such a small part of the United Kingdom with a population of just 1.8 millon people. Institutions which were abusive were run by the government as well as Protestant, Catholic and secular organisations. The enquiry is of interest to the Australian Royal Commission because the Catholic Church is not the state religion in Northern Ireland. Therefore, the government can separate responsibility between itself and the Catholic Church just as the Australian Government can. The Catholic Church in the Republic of Ireland is contributing 50% of the compensation payouts because of its connection with the Irish government. However, in Australia, there is no connection between the State and the Catholic Church. Accordingly, the liability for compensation will be much clearer.

The Northern Ireland enquiry has been given 2 ½ years to complete its work. The Chairman has appealed to victims to come forward. Public campaigns are being run urging survivors to come forward. Posters and flyers are being left at bus stops and doctors’ surgeries all across Northern Ireland. A similar campaign can be expected in Australia.

Source: BBC news

About Peter Kelso

I am a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. I have been admitted to practice since 1984. I am the principal and founder of Kelso Lawyers which has operated in Newcastle since 1986.

I have been an advocate for compensation for victims of abuse since the commencement of the Victims Compensation Tribunal in New South Wales in 1988. I conduct the largest victims practice in New South Wales. I have a high level of engagement with numerous NGOs such as woman’s refuges, sexual assault services, community organisations and healing centres.

On 31 October 2012 I was a finalist for the Justice Medal, presented by the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.

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