Scott Morrison Officially Apologises To Survivors Of Historic Child Abuse

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tendered an official apology to the survivors of institutional child abuse, admitting the Australian government failed many thousands of young people across generations.

Speaking before Parliament, and a large group of survivors and their advocates, Morrison today delivered on one of the key recommendations laid out in the monumental Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“Today, Australia confronts a trauma, an abomination, hiding in plain sight for far too long,” Morrison said.

The Prime Minister said the apology was “a sorry that dare not ask for forgiveness, a sorry that dare not try and make sense of the incomprehensible, or think it could, a sorry that does not insult with an incredible promise, that sorry that speaks only of profound grief and loss.”

Morrison appeared to fight back tears while saying that as the father of two daughters, he could “not comprehend the magnitude of what she has faced.

“Not just as a father, but as a prime minister, I am angry too. I am angry at the calculating destruction of lives and abuse of trust. Including those who have abused the shield of faith and religion to hide their crimes.”

The apology was directed at the survivors, their supporters, whistleblowers, and all of those who faced a backlash from the institutions which systematically protected abusers, Morrison said.

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.

Morrison did not only apologise. In his speech, he pledged to direct the Federal Government to enact 104 recommendations laid out by the royal commission’s final report, and that a further 18 would be lead by state and territorial jurisdictions.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten echoed Morrison’s statements, saying “our nation let you down. Today we offer you our nation’s apology, with humility, honesty, and hope for healing now.”

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who instituted the royal commission while she was in office, was also present.

Five years after her government led the call for a royal commission, Australia now has a more complete understanding of the trauma inflicted on vulnerable children in religious and community institutions, and the ways it was covered up.

Today’s apology serves as a recognition of the nation’s failings, and a pledge to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

If you would like to talk to a counsellor about rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, give the people over at 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732.