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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

The Order of the Christian Brothers' rules

72. As we explain in the institution-specific sections which follow, many children were migrated to the care of the Christian Brothers (an order of the Catholic Church) at various institutions in Australia. Several such institutions were examined by the Australian Royal Commission. It found that from 1947 to 1968, the ‘Common Rules’ that applied to the Christian Brothers order included the Brothers:

a. not having particular friendships with pupils and not speaking to pupils privately;

b. not touching pupils on the face or otherwise fondling them; and

c. not allowing a boy to enter their room.[1]

Although the Christian Brothers in England and Wales was not a sending institution, these Common Rules indicate what the Australian Christian Brothers, to whom children were migrated, regarded as acceptable behaviour between themselves and the boys in their care.

73. Moreover, the Australian Royal Commission found that the Brothers had established a common procedure following a complaint of sexually inappropriate behaviour, which provided as follows: When an allegation arose, it was put to the Brother in question. If he did not admit the complaint, his word was usually taken over the word of the child unless there were other indications that would lead to the Brother’s denial being doubted. If the allegation was admitted, if there were direct evidence, or if several allegations were made, action was often taken. The action would vary from a warning or transfer for minor incidents, to other sanctions such as the Brother being asked to seek a dispensation from his vows, a canonical warning or dismissal/expulsion.[2]



  1. EWM000064_034.
  2. EWM000064_034-035
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