Victims welcome inquiry into child sexual abuse

THE Royal Commission into child sexual abuse will touch the lives of thousands of victims across western Sydney.

Founder of Bravehearts Hetty Johnston said the public would be "shocked" by the extent of child abuse uncovered by the inquiry.

Ms Johnston, whose organisation has pushed for a national inquiry for more than a decade, said research showed one in five people were sexually abused before the age of 18.

"I don't think the public has any real understanding of the extent of child abuse in the community," she said.

Ms Johnston hoped the Royal Commission would "shine a light where it needed to be shone" and provoke society to protect children through better education and more open dialogue about abuse.

Just last week two men, a Catholic brother and a teacher, who worked at a Blacktown Catholic college and a Lalor Park primary school, were charged.

The male teacher, 58, was charged with the sexual assault of boy, 13, and a girl, 8, while employed by the school more than two decades ago.

The 59-year-old Catholic brother was charged with the sexual assault of two boys, both 13. Last month a former Catholic priest, dubbed Father F for legal reasons — who was based in Parramatta — was charged with 25 child-sex offences relating to three girls.

With an estimated 59,000 children sexually abused in Australia every year, there will be hundreds more such crimes in western Sydney.

Bishop of Parramatta Diocese Anthony Fisher welcomed the Royal Commission.

"I know I speak for our entire Catholic community when I say that our hearts go out to the victims," he said.

See Reverend Anthony Fisher's full response to the announcement of the Royal Commission on the Sun's website.