Catholic Church joins child abuse compensation plan

Pope Francis
Australia’s Catholic Church has committed to joining the government’s redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse.

It paves the way for compensation to be paid to people who were sexually abused as children by church figures and puts pressure on other institutions to follow suit.

The country’s Catholic bishops and leaders of its religious orders committed to signing on to the 3.8 billion Australian dollar (£2.2 billion) national plan on Wednesday.

The church is the first non-government institution to opt into the plan and estimates it will itself be liable for about one billion dollars (£568 million) in compensation.

Federal Social Services Minister Dan Tehan expects more institutions to follow, saying there could be further announcements as early as Thursday.

Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson last week became the most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse.

He faces a potential two-year prison term when he appears in court in June to be sentenced for protecting a paedophile priest in the 1970s.

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