The Catholic Church in Australia committed to working collaboratively with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in November 2012. Within weeks, the Truth, Justice and Healing Council was established to coordinate the Church's response, on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia.
On December 15, 2017, the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was released. Statements from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and individual bishops to the release of the final report are listed at the bottom of this page.
In August 2018, the Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia isused the Church's formal response to the Royal Commission, accepting 98 per cent of the recommendations that related specifically to the Catholic Church or to activities that exist within and beyond the Church, e.g. education, social services.
The Church also published the four volumes prepared by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council.
Of the 49 recommendations of the final report that were addressed to the Catholic Church, 12 necessitated referral to or consultation with the Holy See. In early 2020, the Holy See provided its observations regarding these recommendations to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. The observations were discussed by the bishops at their plenary meeting in May. They have since been provided to the Attorney-General of Australia.
One of the recommendations of the Royal Commission was that organisations provide an annual report to the National Office for Child Safety (NOCS) on progress made against the relevant recommendations. The Church accepted that recommendation and has published two annual reports, seeing them as both reports to Government and the wider Australian community.
For more on the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission, visit this page on the Bishops Conference website