Australia--UN panel blasts Australia over clergy sex cases

For immediate release Friday, November 28

Statement by Barbara Blaine, President SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests +1 312 399 4747

UN panel blasts Australia over clergy sex cases

SNAP responds to new UN report on government of Australia

For the third time this year, an international panel of experts is highlighting sex crimes in the Catholic church. It is now calling upon government officials to hold the church hierarchy accountable.

The UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) just evaluated how several states, including Australia, is following the Convention Against Torture. The panel issued recommendations earlier today to better ensure that human rights are protected.   

For the first time a UN committee is holding government officials responsible for sexual violence committed by Catholic church employees.

In recommendations to Australia the CAT made clear that while establishing a Royal Commission was welcomed it pointed out that Australia "has the responsibility to ensure that all reports of breaches of the convention are promptly and impartially investigated.” 

The Committee also drew attention to Australia's responsibility to "take all appropriate measures to seek from other States parties the assistance that is necessary, including the supply of all evidence at their disposal, to ensure that meaningful and thorough investigations are carried out." This was in response to Cardinal George Pell refusing to turn over some documents because of protections of sovereign immunity.

The committee expressed concern “… as to whether the outcome of its (the royal commission's) work will result in criminal investigations, prosecutions” and “is not a substitute for them.”

Indicating it heard the cries of Australian victims the committee also pointed to the Australian government’s responsibility to ensure “redress and compensation for victims.”  

Nicky Davis, a survivor and SNAP leader from Sydney, Australia who is one of 49 young girls raped and sexually violated by one Catholic Brother who was charged but never faced trial says, “We are grateful to the committee members for pointing out the responsibility of the government to not only protect Australian children but to ensure that Catholic employees who commit crimes be held accountable and that they must ensure redress for the victims. So far few victims have received any justice.” Davis testified earlier this month in Geneva. 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, Nicky Davis, SNAP Australia Leader, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, +61 422 538 440,, Peter Isely (414-429-7259, Mary Caplan (917-439-4187 )


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