Senior Anglicans called to Royal Commission over child abuse

SOME of the most senior members of the Anglican Church of Australia will be called to give evidence before the royal commission inquiry to abuse at Lismore's North Coast Children's Home when hearings resume this week.

Since the inquiry began in Sydney last Monday, the royal commission has heard stories of rape, floggings and emotional abuse at the home which took in orphans and misplaced children between the late 1940s and 80s.

One witness, who lost his brother to depression, told the commission a recent cancer diagnosis was the "best news" he had ever received" and described the abuse suffered by the children as the kind that "makes you hope for death".

Witnesses have expressed distress at the way former Grafton diocese registrar Pat Comben and former Bishop Slater responded to a group claim brought by 40 abuse survivors in 2006.

Despite originally seeking $4million in damages, the claimants eventually shared in little more than $820,000.

Whistleblower Richard "Tommy" Campion and six other survivors have given evidence along with several members of the Church and former group claim solicitor Simon Harrison.

Hundreds of documents from events spanning six decades were tendered as evidence.

Former Sydney-based chaplain Jennifer Woodhouse told the commission she found it "remarkable and distressing" that Rev Comben had appeared "more concerned about the finances of the dioceses than he did about the many people who had been abused at the North Coast Church of England Children's Home".

When Rev Comben was called late Friday, he admitted he had been "wrong" to abandon the Church's Christian principles out of fear of losing money.

He is expected to return to the stand on Monday along with former Bishop Slater and Primate of the Anglican Church Dr Phillip Aspinall.


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