Cornwall Inquiry Finds “Systemic Failures” to Blame for Historic Sexual Abuse

by John McKiggan

Justice Normand Glaude has released his report in the Cornwall Inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse.

Justice Glaude said during a press conference that:

“Institutions were ill equipped to deal with allegations about their own employees…institutions tend to try to find a way out, allowing individuals to stay under ineffective conditions that failed to protect the vulnerable.”

More Concerned About Reputation Than Child Safety

In a statement that rings true Justice Glaude says that institutions were:

“Less concerned about victims than about public embarrassment.”

I have been representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse for more than 18 years. In almost every case of institutional abuse we have investigated, we have found that persons in authority were aware, or should have been aware, of the abuse.

But the institutions failed to report the abuse rather than face the public embarrassment or stigma that public revelations might cause.

This problem has been particularly rampant within the Catholic Church, which appears to have perpetuated a “code of silence”; failing to acknowledge sexual abuse by it’s priests or the harm it causes to the victims.

Progress Being Made?

One can only hope that progressive steps like Justice Glaude’s report, and recommendations contained therein, and the recent class action settlement by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish will provide a path for the future and other institutions facing allegations of sexual abuse.

For the last 18 years I have dedicated my practice to helping survivors of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one have been a victim of sexual abuse you can contact me for a free copy of my book: The Survivor’s Guide to Abuse Compensation Claims.

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