Court Judge, the Hon. Donnell Ryan QC, who is conducting an independent review of
the Melbourne Response
, the Catholic Archdiocese
of Melbourne’s process for managing sexual abuse claims, has called on victims of
sexual abuse who have experience of the Melbourne
to come forward and share their views on the compensation awarded,
and how the process could be improved.
Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, announced in April that he would
commission a Review of the process available under the Melbourne Response for
compensating victims of sexual abuse by priests, lay persons and religious
under the control of the Melbourne Archdiocese. He appointed Mr Ryan to conduct
the review in August 2014)
‘The management of sexual abuse claims,
particularly the impacts both positive and negative that the existing processes
have on victims, is clearly a very important issue.
recommendations which emerge from the Review will need to ensure that the Melbourne Response takes full account of
what is required to recognise and, as far as possible, alleviate the suffering
To that end,
I am concerned to hear not only from victims but also from their relatives,
counsellors, clinicians, legal advisers and others involved in the process. This can be by written submissions or by
private hearing or personal interview with me.
care will be taken not to create further trauma for anybody involved in the
process, so the means by which submissions are received will be adapted as
sensitively as possible to individual circumstances.
from the Terms of Reference of my appointment that the overall objective of
this Review is to ensure that the best possible arrangements are made for
victims to seek redress which truly recognizes the abuse they have suffered and
the effect of that abuse on their lives.’ Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan has
identified the following issues as requiring particular attention in the course
of the Review :
the maximum amount of compensation which can be awarded under the Melbourne Response (currently $75,000)
should be increased by any and what amount or removed altogether?
the amount of compensation payable to victims under the Melbourne Response should continue to be assessed by a Compensation
yes to (b), whether there should be any change to the procedures or principles
adopted by the Compensation Panel in assessing awards of compensation?
victims should be given more encouragement to seek independent legal advice before
accepting an award of compensation?
the Melbourne Response should provide
a mechanism for review of, or an appeal from;
of an Independent Commissioner that abuse has occurred;
award of compensation which has not been accepted by an applicant;
past award of compensation which has been accepted by an applicant who
subsequently wishes to re-open the matter?
the Melbourne Response should be
expanded to provide for awards for compensation or other assistance to
secondary victims of abuse (in addition to the counselling and pastoral care
already made available)?
the obligations of confidentiality presently imposed on victims at any stage of
the process administered under the Melbourne
Response should be relaxed in any respect or removed altogether?
any steps should be taken to make apologies tendered to victims on behalf of
the Archdiocese more acceptable to each victim and more responsive to his or
her specific circumstances?
Mr Ryan said
that he wanted to make it clear that while he will be reviewing how
compensation for victims has been assessed in the past and recommending whether
any changes should be made in the future he will not be re-opening any past
decision of the Independent Commissioner or the Compensation Panel.
consider whether there should be provision for appealing or reviewing past
payments, how that review should be done and by whom but I do not propose to
re-open individual cases’. Mr Ryan said.
will proceed on the assumption that there will be a need for the Melbourne Response to continue to
investigate complaints and provide compensation to victims at least until an
alternative mechanism has been established as a result of recommendations made
in Betrayal of Trust or by the
Commonwealth Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual
Submissions may be made in writing or orally. Submissions should be directed to one or more
of issues (a) to (h) noted above or otherwise relevant to the Terms of Reference
for the Review. A copy of the formal
Notice of Review is available at www.cam.org.au/RyanReview.
Oral submissions will be received in a private hearing or interview or
in the course of a ‘round table’ discussion, as preferred by each person making
a submission. Anybody attending to make
an oral submission may be accompanied by a relative, friend or other support
person. The confidentiality of each submission may be completely or partly
preserved according to the wishes of the person making the submission.
A request for an opportunity to make a submission
should be made in writing outlining the substance of the proposed
submission. Any such request should be
addressed to The Independent Reviewer, Mr Donnell Ryan QC, GPO Box 2161,
MELBOURNE VIC 3001 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
and be received by 21 November 2014.
Authorised by The Hon D M Ryan QC.