Truth Justice and Healing Council members announced

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, and Sr Annette Cunliffe RSC, Chair of Catholic Religious Australia, have today announced the members of the Truth Justice and Healing Council (TJHC).

The TJHC will oversee the Catholic Church's engagement with the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Council, welcomed the announcement saying the 13 member Council is made up of men and women with professional and other expertise, especially across child sexual abuse, paedophilia, trauma, mental illness, suicide and public policy.

"The Church and members of the TJHC are determined that the truth be told and that the Church assists victims and those damaged by abuse as children receive justice and to embark on a sustainable process of healing. "  Francis Sullivan said.

"Councillors have been chosen for their obvious expertise and their willingness to give frank and independent advice. This Council will guide the Church as it goes through the Royal Commission, and will approach the task with openness and compassion."

"We accept that the  Royal Commission may well  reveal embarrassing and shameful episodes from our past, but it is necessary in order for the truth to heal and for the community to see that our engagement is genuine and sincere. Our task also involves advising the Church on the best practice changes  to protect children and prevent sexual abuse."

"This is a crucial task as the Church demonstrates through its actions that the welfare and safety  of children are the highest priority."

The Truth Justice and Healing Council will hold its first meeting in Sydney in mid April. Members of Council are:

Justice Barry O'Keefe:  The Council is chaired by Barry O'Keefe AM QC; a former Commissioner of NSW's Independent Commission Against Corruption; a former Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW; chairman of Interpol's International Group of Experts on Corruption, chairman of the International Anticorruption Conference and a former Mayor of Mosman. He is a consultant to law firm Clayton Utz and was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame University in 2005.

Dr Sue Gordon AM: Retired magistrate in the Children's Court in Western Australia; inaugural Commissioner on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission; chaired the Inquiry into the Response by Government Agencies to Complaints of Family Violence and Child Abuse in Aboriginal Communities in Western Australia in 2002. In 2004 appointed Chair of the National Indigenous Council and the Northern Territory Emergency Response Taskforce in 2007.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge: Archbishop Mark Coleridge has been the Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane since May 2012. He was previously Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn (2006-2012) and Auxiliary Bishop for Melbourne (2002-2006). Archbishop Mark holds a Doctorate in Sacred Scripture and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and French.   He has served in the Holy See's Secretariat of State and on the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Social Communication.

Professor Maria Harries: Senior Research Fellow in the Social Work and Social Policy School at the University of Western Australia; extensive experience in child abuse and has numerous publications in the child protection/public policy; worked with the Christian Brothers for many years and was the inaugural Chair of the Mercy Care juridical body covering the health, aged care and welfare services previously conducted by the Mercy Sisters in Perth.

Mr Jack Heath: Chief Executive Officer of Sane Australia, a mental health advocacy organisation for people suffering mental illness; in 1997 founded the Inspire Foundation with the idea of using the Internet to prevent youth suicide; helped establish Inspire in Ireland and the United States.  Mr Heath has also served as a diplomat and a senior advisor to both Prime Minister Paul Keating and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

Associate Professor Rosemary Sheehan:  Currently working in Department of Social Work at Monash University; 17 years' experience in dispute resolution in the Children's Court of Victoria; has served on the Victorian Women's Correctional Services Advisory Committee and Child Death Review Committee; serves on MacKillop Family Services Quality and Advocacy Committee;  consultant for the Victorian Government Review of Child Protection 2002 -2003.

Hon Greg Crafter AO: Admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1978; a former Minister in the SA Government having held the portfolios of Community Welfare, Aboriginal Affairs and Education and Children's Services.  Former President of the Geneva based International Baccalaureate Organisation and Chairman of the Organisations' Executive Committee.

↑ Back to top