Melbourne: Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday made an emotional national apology to thousands of Australian victims of institutional child sex abuse for failing to protect them from the “evil dark” crimes committed over the decades and voiced his anger at those who have misused the “shield of faith and religion” to hide their misdeeds.
The formal apology followed a national investigation into institutional sexual abuse in Australia, which spanned five years and stunned the country with revelations of thousands of cases of shocking abuse in institutional settings like churches and orphanages.
In a speech which was broadcast live across the country, Morrison said the trauma suffered by the victims had been “hiding in plain sight for too long.”
“To the children we failed, sorry. To the parents whose trust was betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces, sorry. To the whistleblowers, who we did not listen to, sorry. To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands, children, who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstruction, sorry. To generations past and present, sorry,” Morrison said.
“Silenced voices. Muffled cries in the darkness. Unacknowledged tears. The tyranny of invisible suffering. The never heard pleas of tortured souls, bewildered by an indifference to the unthinkable theft of their innocence.”
He said it was a sorry that dare not ask for forgiveness but rather “seeks to reach out in compassion into the darkness, where you have lived for so long” and assured them: “I believe you, we believe you, your country believes you.”
In a rare show of emotions, Morrison briefly broke down and fought back tears when he talked of meeting leading author and advocate Chrissie Foster.
“As a father of two daughters I can't comprehend what she has faced,” Morrison said.
Two of Foster's three daughters, Emma and Katie, were repeatedly abused by a local school Catholic priest near their home in Oakleigh, Melbourne....