The Catholic Diocese of Ballarat has paid out more than $7.9 million in compensation to survivors of child sexual abuse and more than $1 million in pastoral support to abuse survivors to date.
Catholic Diocese of Ballarat business manager, Andrew Jirik said: “To date the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat (The Diocese) has paid directly to abuse survivors, compensation in excess of $7.9m and $1.4m in pastoral support.”
“Notwithstanding the Commonwealth Redress Scheme is not yet in operation, the Diocese continues to work with claimant solicitors to progress outstanding claims and would continue to pay such amounts from its assets and insurance.”
The amount the diocese has paid in compensation has almost doubled since The Courier reported in February that the Ballarat Diocese had paid “$4.9m compensation to survivors of child sexual abuse and more than $1 million in pastoral support to abuse survivors so far."
The $7.9m sum includes some amounts paid to victims of abuse by the Christian Brothers in the Diocese.
Mr Jirik said his comments related primarily to “clergy in the Diocese” but that, “in some instances the Diocese has, and is, supporting victims of abuse by the Christian Brothers ... and in some instances, (these) settlements have had a joint approach.”
It is believed The Congregation of Christian Brothers – a worldwide Roman Catholic religious order, founded in 1802 by Edmund Rice – no longer has an organisational presence in Ballarat.
Mr Jirik said the diocese had been paying for pastoral support since 1995 and this support was primarily, but not limited to, psychological support and counselling.
The intention was to continue to provide such support.
Asked if the Church was helping secondary victims, Mr Jirik noted Bishop Paul Bird’s (May 29, 2015) personal apology.
"I have been very moved, very sorry, that as young children they endured such horrendous abuse. I'm sorry about the impact on their lives and their families."