We applaud the prime minister for establishing this inquiry and setting the terms of reference.
It’s crucial that current and former employees be questioned under oath as to how much church officials have known and how little they have done to protect the children. The commission must be aggressive in finding and questioning these officials, even if they have retired or moved elsewhere or claim special privileges or protections of some sort.
It’s also crucial that no one get complacent now. It will be tempting for many concerned individuals to sit back and convince themselves that they’re “off the hook” and that the commission will “fix” everything. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One reason tens of thousands of Australian kids have been sexually assaulted is because of naïve beliefs like this. No adult can ever be passive about children’s safety. No adult can ever assume “Someone else will expose this predator,” “report these troubling behaviors,” or “call police.”
Commission or no commission, every one of us must share what we know or suspect about pedophiles and their allies
We can’t make this any more clear or say it any more emphatically: Every single person who knows or suspects anything about child sex crimes and cover ups in any institution – be they ordained or lay, employee or volunteer, member or ex-member – has a civic and moral duty to pick up the phone or the pen and contact law enforcement officials or commission members right away.
That’s the only way kids will really be safer.
We hope the commission’s work will enable the light of truth to be shed on the darkness of evil that has shattered the innocence of so many children and robbed them of the chance to reach their full potential in life. And we hope it will deter other officials from ignoring, concealing and enabling child sex crimes in the present and the future.