Australia offers rare domestic excuses for victims of child sexual abuse

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered rare apologies on Monday, only the second since 2008, to victims of sexual abuse of institutional children and their families, bringing some survivors to tears.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison finds himself before delivering National Apology to survivors of child sexual abuse in the House of Representatives at the Parliament building in Canberra, Australia on October 22, 2018. AAP / Mick Tsikas / via REUTERS

The gesture followed a five-year investigation into child sexual abuse that investigated more than 8,000 cases of sexual misconduct, most of them in religious and state institutions responsible for childcare.

"Today, as a nation, we face our failure to listen, believe and deliver justice," Morrison told the legislators of the Australian capital, Canberra.

"We're sorry, we've failed, we're sorry, we're sorry for parents whose confidence has been betrayed and they've struggled to pick up the pieces, I'm sorry."

A woman reacts as she watches Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hand over national apologies to victims and survivors of institutional sexual abuse of children outside the Parliament in Canberra, Australia on October 22, 2018. AAP / Lukas Coch / via REUTERS

The expressions of national regrets like those of Monday are reserved for serious evils in which the state has played a role.

In the previous example of 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized to members of the stolen generations of indigenous Australians, forcibly stripped of their families and communities as young children in assimilation policies.

Morrison also repeated Monday's apology in a speech to nearly 800 victims, some of whom started crying, the images shown on television showed.

"It was very, very intense being in that room," Graeme, a victim who identified himself only by his name, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"I looked around and I thought that there was not a room for stronger people all over the country."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Bill Shorten National Apology to survivors of child sexual abuse in Parliament's Great Hall in Canberra, Australia, October 22, 2018. AAP / Mick Tsikas / via REUTERS

He added: "I am proud to be a victim and I am proud of all the victims".

Morrison promised tighter supervision, although some victims say the government failed to do enough.

"If they think that saying sorry will end it, it's not," he told the issuer Tony Wardley, who was abused in the years & # 39; 80. "There's still a lot to do."

This year Australia has set up a compensation scheme to pay compensation to victims of abuse up to $ 150,000 ($ 106,000) each.

But the conservative government still has to decide whether it will adopt the recommendations of the vast national inquiry, especially that which requires Catholic priests to report child abuse that they may know about in the confessional.

In August, an important Catholic body, the Australian Episcopal Conference, said it would not comply with the proposed state laws.

($ 1 = 1.4086 Australian dollars)

Colin Packham signaling; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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