THE care and protection of children and support for their families has been an almost lifelong preoccupation for me. The current debate on paedophilia and the Roman Catholic Church is of particular interest.
I support a national royal commission of inquiry that includes all government and non-government agencies involved in the care of children. Every one of these agencies provides an opportunity for infiltration by paedophiles simply because they do no appreciate how very serious and widespread the problem really is!
Consequently, selection, security and review processes within such organisations are inadequate and out of date, if in fact they are even considered at all. Believe me, I know this from very personal first hand experience.
The current focus on the Roman Catholic Church is only the beginning of a process that needs to occurand which will inform and (hopefully) motivate all of us to create a social environment that is essential if we are to protect our children from such evil and also help to identify and deal with offenders.
There are two issues here. One is the obvious care and protection that children need for them to lead healthy and successful lives. The other is to identify and, where possible, deal humanely with offending persons.
In the meantime, the Roman Catholic Church or any other relevant organisation does not have to wait for the results of any commission of inquiry to tell it what to do. Simply adopt a policy of referring all complaints of abuse to the appropriate authority for their expert investigations.
At the same time, it is essential that we require such inquiries to be carried out with due diligence and that we the community be kept appropriately informed to ensure there are no cover-ups.
It is essential to recognise there are times when we all feel the need to coverup matters that are personal to ourselves and which might cause personal embarrassment. This is human nature.
However, we cannot, and should not, expect our privacy to be protected when our actions are harmful to those less fortunate and/or at risk – in this instance, our children.
LAURIE BEATTIE OAM