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Fall in clergy sex abuse complaints

The Church is getting on top of the sexual abuse problem, according to the national director of Australian Catholic Bishops' Towards Healing strategy Sr Angela Ryan.

But she told that Catholic Weekly that while the number of complaints has fallen this year, the flow of complaints tends to be cyclical and complaints often follow media exposure of the issue.

"If people say they are going to the media, I say that is their right, it helps bring it into the open," she said.

"Many of the victims have never spoken about it before, but they now talk about it more openly, and parents are more likely to believe their children when they raise the issue.

Sr Angela said most sexual abuse victims merely want an apology and some recognition from the Church of what had happened to them.

"They want counselling and, in some cases, compensation," she told the paper. "It is a symbolic thing, as it can never compensate them for what has happened.

"It is better if the compensation is tied to helping people get on with their lives," she said. "A large number of people are being taught to read and write, or having their TAFE courses paid for, or their HECS fees met. Their education was affected by what happened to them. They didn't finish school."

Catholic Weekly

Angela Ryan, national director of Towards Healing - Sexual abuse: Saying 'sorry' won't solve it (Catholic Weekly)

11 Apr 2003