Ballarat residents rally for Catholic Church sex assault victims

Updated November 2 2012 - 7:13am, first published December 4 2011 - 5:02pm

THE voice for sexual assault victims of the Catholic Church is growing louder.There was a strong Ballarat presence at yesterday's rally on the steps of Parliament House, with some 300 people turning out to continue the push for an independent inquiry. Those in attendance were calling for the state government to launch an inquiry into sexual assault and the Catholic Church and for all Catholic clergy abuse-related cases of suicide — of which there are at least 26 — be handed over to the State Coroner.Rally organiser Judy Courtin said yesterday's gathering was "short, sharp and to the point.""There was people there whose child had committed suicide. It's the first time they have all got together publicly and demanded that the government takes action," Ms Courtin said."The state has an obligation and duty to protect its children."Ms Courtin was one of three public speakers at yesterday's rally, alongside state member for Oakleigh Ann Barker and Steven Woods, who is a victim of convicted paedophile Robert Best.The state government says it will await the findings of the Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry before deciding on any further inquiries.