Aspinall releases report on sex abuse in Australian province

Brisbane Times:

Anglican Primate Archbishop Phillip Aspinall on Wednesday released the results of a research project designed to help the church strengthen its child protection protocols.

The study was welcomed by victims group Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), although the organisation said it remained to be seen whether the church would stand by victims over time.

The report, received by Anglican leaders at a meeting in Sydney at the weekend, examined 191 alleged cases of child sexual abuse reported between 1990 and 2008 from 17 dioceses around Australia. It found most reported cases were substantiated.

ASCA director Michael Salter said the report signalled a refreshing move away from the previous emphasis of the church on legal risk minimisation and offers of small amounts of compensation in an attempt to forestall lawsuits.

The report said the fact that, on average, abuse was not reported until 23 years after it occurred meant many perpetrators died before any action could be taken, or too much time had passed to make a clear determination of what had happened.

It said 24 per cent of the accused were dead by the time the complaint was made to the church or died during the investigation.

The study found three-quarters of complainants were male, most aged 10 to 15 at the time of abuse.

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