The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

Australian Survivors of Institutional Abuse to get Redress: Australian Government was Advised by Judge Ryan!

Just redress scheme for abuse victims may exceed Royal Commission's $4.3b cost estimate


January 30, 2015


Paul Bibby

Providing just redress to victims of child sexual abuse could cost more than the $4.3 billion estimated by the Royal Commission, victims advocates say.

But they say the figure pales in comparison to the cost of abuse in the community in terms of homelessness, mental health treatment and drug and alcohol abuse.  

The release by the commission of a major discussion paper on redress on Friday brought a sharp intake of breath from some after it was revealed that such a scheme could cost $4.37 billion over 10 years.

In reaching its headline figures, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse assumed an average payment of $65,000 for each victim.

The costs would equate to $1.971 billion from government, $582 million of which reflects government's contribution as "funder of last resort" – its role in backing up institutions where abuse occurred but which now had no money to pay.

Private institutions would be required to contribute $2.4 billion.

But some advocates for victims and survivors said the total cost of a just redress scheme could be considerably more than that estimated by the commission.

The President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse, Cathy Kezelman, said the $65,000 average figure was quite conservative given the impact of abuse on the lives of individuals.

This position was supported by the Director of the Survivors and Mates Support Network, Craig Hughes-Cashmore.

"The cost could be more – it's very difficult to know the size and extent of the problem," Mr Hughes-Cashmore said.

However, both advocates emphasised that the cost of inaction was far greater.

"When it comes to the bottom line we need to consider the enormous cost our community is already paying in terms of the public health and broader social impacts of child abuse," Dr Kezelman said.

Proposed changes to the burden of proof in civil claims made by the commission came  in for criticism on Friday, with some suggesting they may discourage people from volunteering for grass-roots organisations.

The commission suggested that, rather than victims having to prove that an institution breached its duty of care, as is currently the case, the institutions could be required to prove that it took all reasonable steps to care for the child.

Such a change would be controversial as it reverses the onus of proof that has been enshrined in civil law for centuries.

"We've got to be careful of major shifts in the law which drive people out," Patrick Parkinson, a Sydney University expert in responses to child sexual abuse said.

"We've got to think about local at our local soccer club. Because it's on the strength of our local organisations that our social capital exists – the volunteers who are so important to our social fabric."

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A Message to the Authour via Twitter

 ·  23m 23 minutes ago

Don't let Ryan Feck over Australian Survivors like he did you have the Power to start Debate!

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Interview with High Court Judge Sean Ryan from Dublin

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 13/11/2012

Reporter: Emma Alberici

Chair of the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse in Ireland and a judge on the High Court there, Judge Sean Ryan discusses the Ryan Commission, which looked at the abuse and neglect of children in Irish institutions.


EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Ireland is the only other country to have launched a national child abuse inquiry similar to that announced yesterday by Australia's Prime Minister.

The so-called Ryan Commission looked at the abuse and neglect of children in Irish institutions. The majority of allegations it investigated related to 60 residential schools operated by the Catholic Church which were funded and supervised by Ireland's Department of Education.

After nine years of inquiries the Commission reported its findings in 2009. It said rape and abuse of Irish children in Catholic care was endemic. The entire system, that held 30,000 children, treated them more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential.

It also found that some religious officials encouraged ritual beatings and consistently shielded their orders amid a culture of self-serving secrecy. When confronted with evidence of sex abuse, religious authorities responded by transferring offenders to other locations where in many instances they were free to abuse again.

The Irish inquiry was led by High Court Judge Sean Ryan, who joined us a short time ago by satellite from Dublin.

Judge Sean Ryan, thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us.

SEAN RYAN: You're very welcome.

EMMA ALBERICI: Now, when it comes to the issue of widespread allegations of child abuse, where in your view is the value of a royal commission?

SEAN RYAN: I suppose the first thing one has to look at is the importance from the survivors of the abuse. They look for recognition, they look for acknowledgment, they look for acceptance. People sometimes say well, they're exaggerated or it can't be all that bad or they didn't suffer that much, and I think that sufferers - people who have survived the experiences - have a real need. That's the first thing.

The second thing I think is that the state often finds it difficult to acknowledge the nature of the abuse, the extent of abuse and the activity or nonactivity or people who knew or might have known or could have found out or whatever about the abuse. So there's a lot of things.

EMMA ALBERICI: You were tasked with an equally broad scope of inquiry. Where do investigators even begin their work?

SEAN RYAN: We first looked for people who had been in institutions and who wanted to reveal their experiences, and they could do that in a number of ways. Again, this is specific to our statutory commission which had either an investigation model - which was the part that I was in charge of - and there was a confidential model where you could go and simply give your description of the events in conditions of extreme privacy. Of course the whole thing was confidential in a sense.

EMMA ALBERICI: Because of course we know ...

SEAN RYAN: Sorry, you could do that.

EMMA ALBERICI: We know that victims ... you know, some take decades to bring the courage to discuss this even with their family and loved ones, by which stage they're often so seriously damaged by marriage breakups and alcohol abuse and the like. How did you and your team manage to persuade such people, such vulnerable people to give their evidence?

SEAN RYAN: People were actually very forthcoming and very willing to come to the commission. Now obviously how sensitively you deal with them is a very important question. It's a different situation if you say, "Well let's look at how a complaint of abuse was handled?" That is a different focus of abuse, of an inquiry to the one that says ... somebody's saying, "I was sexually abused in whatever form by X," and X is there and represented. We tried to ... Sorry.

EMMA ALBERICI: But I understand you did look at both ... you did look at both questions, I understand?

SEAN RYAN: We did indeed. The confidential committee looked at one thing ... I'm sorry, we did look at the questions, yes, we did. We looked at ... often enough from the records of the institutions or the congregations we could piece together how an allegation was dealt with. We could sometimes integrate that with relevant evidence concerning the particular person about whom the allegations had been made.

So, for instance, if somebody was shifted around from one institution to another against whom there were allegations - and often enough there were allegations that were accepted by the congregation - so they thought there was something in it and they shifted the person around for that reason, and you could then see how many complaints or were the complaints made about that person in the other location or locations.

EMMA ALBERICI: Was there a promise of compensation to the victims in your inquiry?

SEAN RYAN: The short answer is yes. The way it happened was at the beginning when people were registering, so to speak, with the commission, their lawyers raised the question of compensation and they said look, "Unless we are satisfied that there's a compensation scheme in place, we're not happy to advise our clients to cooperate and make statements and get involved."

This is really where I began my involvement with this whole issue, because the government set up a parallel but quite independent system of compensation - apart that is from the commission to inquire into child abuse, and it set up a separate body. And in the course of that I was a lawyer - I was a barrister at the time - I chaired a committee that produced a scheme of damages or a "scheme of redress payments" was the term we used for victims, survivors of abuse.

So that's really how I came to be involved in the thing, even though of course the two institutions were completely separate, the two organisations were quite separate. So the answer is yes, there is and was a compensation scheme.

EMMA ALBERICI: And in your view is it important that a compensation scheme be attached to such an inquiry?

SEAN RYAN: Well, I'd be slow to say how it should be done. The way we did it was in the particular circumstances. I think I'm right in saying that the government here originally envisaged that the commission would investigate and recommend a form of compensation, so that they saw that as coming at the end but in fact in the events that happened it came at the beginning. I would have thought myself that recognition of wrongs in this context in a very formal national way may well have some implications for compensation.

EMMA ALBERICI: And just finally, in drafting the terms of reference for the Australian inquiry, what advice would you offer to our authorities?

SEAN RYAN: I'd be very slow to offer advice to the Australian authorities, I have to say. I mean we have ... our experience ... every inquiry is different is one way you'd have to look at it.

EMMA ALBERICI: Let me rephrase the question. What are the risks you might foresee in conducting an inquiry that is as broad as the one our Prime Minister has announced?

SEAN RYAN: Well, every ... every inquiry wrestles with the same sort of issues. Comprehensiveness, how do we include as many people as possible? How do we achieve that with sensitivity for very often vulnerable people who have been exposed to wrongs? How do we accommodate that, at the same time respecting the legal and human rights of people who are accused of things and who have a right to defend themselves? And how can we achieve all this in a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost?

Now, what particular mixture of elements you put together depends on the nature of the terms of reference and how specifically you're doing it, how many people there are involved, and a variety of other things. But those essentially are issues that every investigation has to wrestle with. There's no perfect ... there's no perfect public inquiry, as I think a former British prime minister announced, and he was totally right about that.

EMMA ALBERICI: We've had a senator here today suggest it shouldn't take any longer than two years. What's your view on giving such an inquiry that kind of time limit?

SEAN RYAN: Well, we had a time limit and then ... but there was a capacity to extend the time limit. I mean, everybody running the inquiry is conscious of the need to achieve the outcome, the result that to conclude the investigation, but I simply don't think that you can pick an arbitrary time limit without knowing ... well I would have thought you couldn't do without knowing how many people were going to be giving evidence or how you were going to do it, and obviously a big national inquiry has huge practical questions attached to it.

So, one way or another, I don't think it could be fixed in the time frame. I will go that far.

EMMA ALBERICI: Did you expect yours to take nine years?

SEAN RYAN: Nobody ever expects a thing to take nine years or six years. When I took over it was in January '04, and I was very happy and indeed pleased that we were able to complete the ... produce the report in May '09. Could that have been done faster? Undoubtedly. But could it have been done a huge amount faster? Mm, I don't know. These things take time.

You can certainly cut out one element or another element and reduce the time or you can increase the number of people working. We had great people working with us and I'm only ... I was only the chairperson of the commission. So there were very good commissioners and we had a great staff and that goes into it as well, but yes, it always takes longer, it always takes longer than you think.

EMMA ALBERICI: We have to leave it there. I thank you so much for coming in to speak to us tonight.

SEAN RYAN: Not at all. You're very welcome.


Lessons from the Irish Commission to inquire into child abuse

The Irish government completely underestimated the number of victims of child sexual abuse. Due to public pressure, the Catholic Church was obliged to significantly increase its financial contribution to the Irish compensation scheme.

Barrister Sean Ryan headed up the Commission to investigate the extent and effects of abuse on children from 1936 onwards following the resignation of Judge Mary Laffoy in September 2003. It became known as the Ryan Commission. Mr Ryan completed the Commission’s work and published his report in May 2009. He investigated all forms of child abuse in Irish institutions. The majority of allegations related to sixty residential schools operated by the Catholic Church, funded and supervised by the Irish Department of Education.

Sean Ryan was later made a judge of the High Court, the highest judicial appointment in Ireland, in recognition of his service and dedication.

The Irish compensation scheme was set up by a special Act of Parliament. Compensation was processed by a “Redress Board”. Victims could apply to the Redress Board as well as pursue claims against the Catholic Church. However, if a victim accepted compensation from the Board, the victim had to cease civil action against the Church immediately. You couldn’t double dip.

When the Redress Board ceased accepting applications on 16 September 2011, it had processed 16,081 claims. The average award was A$82,190.00. The largest award was A$392,704.00. The Board paid solicitors reasonable fees. By December 2012, the Board had paid legal costs to 970 firms and solicitors at a total cost of A$225 million.

The maximum compensation payable by the redress board was A$392,000. An award took into account the severity of the abuse and injury with an additional loading of up to 20% for exceptional cases. The Board also paid medical expenses and all costs reasonably incurred in making an application.

The Catholic Church was found to be the main perpetrator. After initially contributing A$167 million in cash assets in 2002 in return for an indemnity deal from the Irish Government, the Church later increased its compensation. This was because the initial contribution covered only 10% of the total payouts. When the Government realised that it had made a gross underestimation of the total costs, it negotiated an increase from the Church. However, the Church’s additional contributions are dependent on its ability to sell property in the financial crisis that is still going on in Ireland.

There are lessons to be learned from Ireland and the Australian Royal Commission will hopefully be looking at these.

I expect public pressure in Australia will force the Catholic Church to liquidate a large slice of its substantial real estate holdings.

The Australian Government has a number of options to pressure the Church to compensate for the wrongdoing of its priests and its betrayal of trust.  I will discuss these legal pressure tactics in another edition


Australia’s long road to healing

In a sign that Australia is cognisant of the pain lying ahead with last week’s announcement of a Royal Commission into child abuse, one national broadcaster sought wisdom in none other than Ireland’s Judge Sean Ryan for guidance on how events would (and should) now play out. 

After a weekend in which a second state abuse inquiry was announced for New South Wales (joining one already active in Victoria), and a government minister took to the airwaves to dismiss suggestions that a nationwide investigation was now warranted, Prime Minister Julia Gillard surprised all on November 12, when, setting aside scheduled parliamentary business, she announced that a full and federal inquiry would be established.


Dipping into his own experience in compiling the Ryan Report into institutional abuse, Judge Ryan subsequently warned Australian radio listeners not to be hopeful that the commission could get to the painful truth of abuse quickly. Responding to one suggestion of a two-year timeframe for the investigation, Judge Ryan cautioned: “It always takes longer than you think.”

The journey to the prime minister’s announcement has not been a short one either.

Since at least the 1990s, Australia’s judicial system has been dealing with individual investigations of historic cases of clerical sexual abuse in numerous dioceses in the country. Trials have continued into this century, and in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI used the occasion of his official visit for World Youth Day to publicly apologise for the hurt caused to victims of predatory priests.

However, the Australian Church has been unable to shake the suggestion which dogged the ongoing trials – and has been evidenced in other jurisdictions – that others in the wider Church had questions to answer in relation to its handling of such matters.


Among those voices asking to be heard in recent years has been the Broken Rites advocacy group, which works closely with victims of clerical abuse and was responsible for one of the earliest investigations on diocesan mishandling of abuse cases.

Then, in April 2012, police in the state of Victoria correlated no fewer than 40 suicides where each of the dead had suffered clerical sexual abuse. The resulting public anger was such as to force the first official inquiry. That inquiry, which heard testimony that 70 per cent of abuse cases involving religious were linked to the Catholic Church, also heard from Deputy Police Commissioner Graham Ashton, who testified both that the Church had worked to obstruct the police investigation into cases of abuse and had not reported a single case of abuse, including rape, to police over a 50-year period.


Then, last week, The Irish Catholic reported on the words of another policeman, in New South Wales (NSW), Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, in a letter, stating: “I can testify from my own experience that the Church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the Church.” It was the allegations contained in Fox’s letter that led to the NSW inquiry, and ultimately to the dominoes falling all the way to Canberra and the prime minister’s office.

Now, the gloves are well and truly off.

In scenes instantly recognisable to an Irish readership, in the immediate wake of the Royal Commission’s unveiling, voices were raised against the seal of confession where cases of suspected abuse are involved. Those voices have been reined in somewhat at this point by Australia’s Attorney General Nicola Roxon. The woman charged with the formulation of the Royal Commission (by December 2) conceded that the issue of the confessional might have to be looked at, but that this “difficult and prominent religious issue” would not be a “core” element of the commission’s work.

Meanwhile, Australia’s leading prelate, Cardinal George Pell, has found himself in the midst of a perfect storm.  


As he fights for his good name against an allegation of complicity in abuse by the victim of a now convicted Christian Brother, Cardinal Pell also finds himself battling internal discontent over the handling of unfolding events.  

Having rounded on the media for its negative coverage of the Church, which, he insists, has not engaged in a systematic cover-up, Dr Pell was attacked by retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson who accused the cardinal of being out of step with the mood in Australia.

(Bishop Robinson has written on the subject of abuse in the Church, and found himself at odds with the Australian Bishops’ Conference in 2008, when his book was accused of containing “doctrinal difficulties”.)

A dissident he may be, but Bishop Robinson’s accusations have now been publicly echoed by a Catholic priest well known in the country for his work with abuse victims. Father Kevin Dillon of Geelong said that the media was to be praised in its “positive” work on bringing abuse to light.

“I believe most Catholics are probably rather grateful to the media for a focus on something which they find enormously shameful and greatly distressing,” he told ABC radio. ( A Sydney Morning Herald poll last week of 21,683 readers has found that 97 per cent agreed with the decision to establish the commission.)

Covering up 

There was no let-up as the week drew to a close. Even as Dr Pell continued his staunch defence of his Church, The Melbourne-based The Age newspaper exposed the activities of the local St John of God Order once it was faced with claims of abuse by members of the congregation against intellectually or physically impaired children in its care. 

In a November 14 report, one based on documents compiled by the order during compensation negotiations in 2001, The Age revealed that members of the order had fabricated a sexual assault allegation against one of their victims so as to discredit him, while repeatedly covering up for one abuser who faced seven allegations.

Now that politicians, priests and policemen have had their say, the Royal Commission will hear from those who have, as yet, not been fully heard. 

As Judge Ryan pointed out, the voices of victims themselves now become vital, both for them seeking “acknowledgment” of their suffering, and for Australians seeking the full truth.

For all Australians, Catholic and otherwise, this final and forthcoming component promises what Ireland already knows about the road to healing.

The worst is yet to come.


Watch Judge Ryan talk about the Unique Selling Points of the Industrial Schools and the Report that he was Commissioned to undertake. NOTE: He set the level of payment for Abuse?

Go to 7 minutes and 25 seconds and listen to the admission about the Indemnity Deal and the Redress Board!!!

  • A Recent Conversation From Face-book; I have remove the Users Details
  • Facebook User the money seems to be heaps Rob Northall , this redress looks like its for sexual abused

  • Rob Northall $65,000 Average to be Beaten, Raped, Starved, Enslaved Deprived of Education, Mental Health Issues, Social Isolation, & Stigma, Relationship Difficulties?
    What's the Current Australian Average Salary?

  • Facebook User thats close to the yearly ..middle wage earner gets ..ues I see where you are coming from ,the other side of OZ were granted $40 thousand theb the government of that state chopped it in half ..

  • Rob Northall Now you understand why it's just Derisory: They will get away with it!

65 thousands for dreadful abuse survivors of child abuse are classed as cheap then and now you would get more for a broken leg shame on them

As Yet Unsnswered Tweets to Australian Survivors Group

CLAN@CLAN_AU 17h17 hours ago

Princess 85yo at protest @ DHS #Melbourne today with copy of @CARoyalCommission #Redress discussion paper

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@CLAN_AU what's the protest about?

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@ShameOfIreland CLAN have been protesting for 7 long yrs #justice & #Redress for ALL #Australian #CareLeavers for ALL forms #abuse #neglect

7:01 PM - 2 Feb 2015 · Details

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@CLAN_AU what about proposed #Redress of $65K One Years Middle income Salary. For Rape, Enslavement, Loss of Future, Mental Health, etc etc

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@CLAN_AU I did Warn you when #Ryan was over there to Feck Survivors over? $65K is just Abuse, it's Shut Up and Feck Off Money!

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This is another example of what the government's and the Catholic Church think of children they abused. A child abused in any of these institutions was a life destroyed forever minimum payment should be at least half a million pounds. It's easy to see why they called in Ryan when you read the Ryan report. Open the statements of the survivors in Ireland and let the people see what went on in these so called industrial schools not hiding them away for seventy five years then tell victims there lives is worth 65 thousand pounds This from cunts that get more than that in expenses every year

Bang on William, awards through the courts would be around that figure, why hide the files for 75 years if its all above board.

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