Editorial: Small step to stifle abuse

This week we learnt that possibly thousands of vulnerable minors detained while crossing into the United States were allegedly sexual molested by authorities. It wasn’t us, they screamed; it was the contractors. But it boils down to the same thing — abuse of power.

From the Boy Scouts to the Catholic Church and just about every organisation in between, the abuse of children has continued largely unfettered, with countless lives directly and indirectly wrecked.

Some affected people may never enjoy the intimacy of a friend or partner, and others have to struggle with third-degree hypersensitivity. The abuse continues despite the revelations of this criminality sending shudders through society every time it is exposed.

But the battle by fearless survivors has started to force a change. The Catholic Church, used to paying off claimants and hushing things up, last week held a landmark conference to discuss this scourge in its ranks. But there is still a long way to go. This week we saw the Vatican’s accountant, Cardinal George Pell, convicted of sexual assault in Australia — in spite of the church and not because of it. Pope Francis has called for greater action and less talk from within the church.

Experience tells us that the action many would like to see can only come from those with a vested interest in laying bare the abuse.

Keep the powerful accountable

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