Australian PM Turnbull to deliver national apology to child sexual abuse victims

02:40 PM | 9 Feb, 2018
Australian PM Turnbull to deliver national apology to child sexual abuse victims
CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will make a national apology before the end of the year to victims of institutional abuse in the wake of the royal commission into child sexual abuse.

The prime minister confirmed the government’s intentions in a statement to parliament on Thursday.

“We owe it to survivors not to waste this moment and we must continue to be guided by their wishes,” Turnbull said. “As a nation, we must mark this occasion in a form that reflects the wishes of survivors and that affords them the dignity to which they were entitled as children – but which was denied to them by the very people who were tasked with their care.”

He said a “survivor-focused reference group” would be appointed to help craft the apology, which would be delivered by the end of the parliamentary year.

The crimes, over decades, took place in institutions including churches, schools, and sports clubs.

The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, made more than 400 recommendations, including calling on the Catholic Church to overhaul its celibacy rules.

"It is not a case of a few 'rotten apples'. Society's major institutions have seriously failed," it said.

Turnbull said his government would consult abuse survivors about what should be included in the national apology.

He also called on state governments and institutions to join a national redress scheme for victims.

"We owe it to survivors not to squander this moment," he said.

The inquiry heard testimonies from more than 8,000 victims, but it said the true number may never be known.