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Australia’s Church paid $213mn to abuse victims

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Catholic church records show more than 3,000 child abuse claims have resulted in payments for redress and many are still being assessed. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

The Australian Catholic Church has paid $213 million to victims of sexual abuse since 1980, an inquiry heard on Thursday.

The money was divided between thousands of victims, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse was told.
The data showed the average payment was about $70,000, the BBC reported.

The Catholic Church made the payments in response to 3,066 of 4,445 child sexual abuse claims between 1980 and 2015.

More than 40 per cent of claims were received by a handful of male orders.

They included compensation, treatment, legal and other costs, said Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission in Sydney.

“The Commission’s experience is that many survivors face barriers which deter them from reporting abuse to authorities and to the institution in which the abuse occurred,” Furness said.

The average delay between an alleged abuse and it being reported was 33 years, she said.

Earlier this month, the Commission heard that 7 per cent of the nation’s Catholic priests allegedly abused children between 1950 and 2010.

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