Lawyers call on Church to 'come clean' about child sex abuse

APN NewsdeskTHE Australian Lawyers Alliance has called on the Catholic Church "to come clean" to the Victorian child sexual abuse inquiry on the number of victims the Church knows about.

In hearings on Friday, the Church confirmed it had accepted the authenticity of 849 complaints against clergy and brothers across the Victorian Church.

ALA spokesman Dr Andrew Morrison SC said the figures were not complete "because two thirds of the Victorian diocese were not included in those horrific figures and the Church is aware of at least another 90 cases".

"It is not acceptable to wait for the Royal Commission to call for this material and then start the process of producing it," he said.

"If the Catholic Church is genuine in saying that things have changed, it will produce relevant files as soon as possible.

Dr Morrison said Cardinal George Pell has said he was "unaware as to whether "any of the complaints upheld by the Church's own internal inquiries had been reported to police".

He said it was "a reasonable assumption" that a similar failure to report serious criminal conduct had occurred in Victoria.

"We know from limited NSW inquiry, in the Newcastle-Maitland diocese alone, of hundreds of cases of abuse involving dozens of abusers," Dr Morrison said.

He said the Australian Lawyers Alliance would like to see frank disclosure of all of the abuse and of the abusers in each of the diocese of the Church throughout Australia.

The ALA's call for more disclosure comes as the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, comes to Queensland this week for a month of hearings.

For more information about the Royal Commission, call 1800 099 340.

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