CLERGY sexual abuse survivors from the Ballarat diocese say a new model of victim support is needed because past systems of compensation have monumentally failed.
Survivor Peter Blenkiron has again implored the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and the federal government to mimic the support for soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Blenkiron and survivor Andrew Collins have previously called for victims who have ongoing health issues to receive a health care card, as well as a pension of $252 a week extra, bringing them in line with war veterans.
The Catholic church says its system that has paid $276 million in compensation to thousands of people sexually abused as children is still not fair to victims. There are discrepancies in the average amount authorities pay – from as little as $22,000 to as much as $901,000.
“The Towards Healing Model was, ‘here’s some money, see you later’ and the new redress scheme being proposed by the commission is the same thing,” Mr Blenkiron said. “But we’ve always said this is about creating a supportive system that is more of safety net.
“Some people don’t require much, other people require ongoing support with a monetary sum to be able to adjust some of the debt that’s been created.
“It needs to be an individual assessment based on the damage they are facing now.”
Meanwhile, the inquiry heard St Patrick’s College in Ballarat has become a leader in child protection policies and mandatory reporting practices to safeguard students since it was caught up in the sex abuse scandal.
Headmaster John Crowley said the protection of children was now part of the “fabric of the school”.
He said the shift had occurred by acknowledging the school’s dark history and working alongside survivors to build trust and create programs to prevent abuse.
“One of the things that has struck me throughout this whole journey, and I didn't understand it until I had the opportunity to walk in solidarity with victims, was the damage that had been done to them… the absolute devastation,” he said.
St Patrick’s College was the first Victorian secondary school to introduce the Keeping Them Safe program last year, training staff in four focus areas: the right to be safe, relationships, responsibility and reporting abuse.