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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Investigation Report

Contents

J.1: Introduction

1. Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse react to their experiences in different ways. Redress therefore takes many forms. It may include seeking an apology from the institution or perpetrator, wanting pastoral support from the Church, as well as reporting the matter to the police or other statutory authority. Compensation (perhaps through legal proceedings) is another form of redress.

2. During our public hearings in this investigation we heard evidence that some within the Church viewed victims and survivors as being motivated by money. For example:

  • In 2003, Abbot Richard Yeo wrote to RC-F77, a fellow monk, saying he thought RC-A82 (who had accused RC-F77 of physical abuse which may have had a sexual element) “is out to get compensation”.[1]
  • Mark Murray (a victim and survivor of clerical child sexual abuse) told us that in 2015 he and others were accused of being “money grabbers” by a member of the Italian Province of the Comboni Order.[2]

3. Views such as these are misplaced and inaccurate. As Sister Jane Bertelsen (a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) told us, compensation “very often is not the primary purpose. Victims and survivors want to be believed, they want to be listened to, they want their story to be heard”.[3] Based on his experience as chair of the Survivor Advisory Panel (SAP), David Marshall told us that from victims and survivors:

One of their key messages … is emphasising … the fact that if people say sorry and they listen, that that’s really crucial. Often compensation, they describe it as a bit of a myth, really. Compensation is often a last resort because no-one is listening.”[4]

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