The final report by the Royal Commission investigating Institutional Child Sex Abuse will soon be released and its findings will be shocking. Its truth will be welcomed by most people in Australia, however, there are members of parliament and law enforcement officials who repeatedly refused to accept calls for a Royal Commission despite the overwhelming evidence according to Victorian Upper House MP and leader of REASON, Fiona Patten MLC.
“In 2000 I published a dossier called Hypocrites, on the sexual abuse of children within religious institutions and named hundreds of convicted church clergy as evidence of the need for a Royal Commission,” detailed Fiona Patten MLC.
“I listed what I thought the terms of reference should look like including an examination of the content and practice of training programs that clergy undergo and an examination of the effects if any, that celibacy and sexual repression have upon child sex abuse.”
Published by the EROS Foundation, the ground-breaking expose Hypocrites was delivered to every State and Federal member of parliament in Australia. Its earthshattering content made headlines, yet the reaction by those in a position to make the abusers accountable was as extraordinary as the revelations. “As a political figure at the time, representing Australia’s sex industry, I was ridiculed and threatened by members of parliament for making these claims. Some, like Federal MP, Bruce Baird, even threatened me
with eviction from the federal parliament if I ever stepped inside the building. I had a number of serious death threats as well which were investigated by the AFP and many MPs said they would take legal action against me if I ever sent something similar to them again,” explained Ms Patten.
After forming the Australian Sex Party in 2009, Ms Patten became the first leader of a political party to call for a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in the church and the first to promote a Royal Commission into such abuse as a formal policy.
Four years later, Prime Minister, Julia Gillard announced the current enquiry. Ms Patten said it was a great irony that Australia’s churches and many of the same MPs who criticised her for calling for an enquiry into child sex abuse were now the ones calling for an enquiry into religious protections.
“Religious ‘protections’ have been one of the main causes of sexual abuse in the churches. They were protected not only by their own flock but by ignorant Members of Parliament, Police, Judges and legal professionals who denied the compelling evidence. Ms Patten called upon the Federal Government to abandon Phillip Ruddock’s enquiry into religious protections stating, “Organised religion needs more investigation, not protection. If everyone just obeyed the law there would no need for religious protections.”
She also called on those members of parliament who dismissed earlier calls for a Royal Commission to apologise for their lack of vision and integrity on the issue which stalled the Royal Commission by many years.
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