Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered a formal apology on Monday to Australia's victims of child sex abuse, saying the nation must acknowledge their long, painful journey and say sorry. His emotional speech delivered in Parliament before hundreds of survivors followed the conclusions of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the nation's highest level of inquiry. "Today as a nation we confront our failure to listen, to believe, and to provide justice," he said, adding: "We say sorry." The four-year inquest that delivered its final report in December revealed shocking evidence from more than 17,000 survivors and heard allegations against government, church, and private institutions, as well as prominent individuals, the AP reports.
Morrison said it was time for Australia to confront key questions. "Why weren't the children of our nation loved, nurtured, and protected? Why was their trust betrayed?" he said. "Why did those who know cover it up? Why were the cries of children and parents ignored? Why was our system of justice blind to injustice? Why has it taken so long to act? Why were other things more important than this, the care of innocent children? Why didn't we believe?" The lawmakers stood for a minute's silence following the apology, which came with the announcement of government plans to create a museum and research center to raise awareness and understanding of the impacts of child sexual abuse, and to ensure the nation does not forget the horrors victims have suffered. (A report last year revealed the shocking scale of abuse at Catholic institutions in Australia.)