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‘Soul Murder’ – Spiritual Trauma at the Royal Commission

‘Soul Murder’ – Spiritual Trauma at the Royal Commission

During the five years tenure of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, the highest percentages of child sexual abuse were found to have occurred in religious organisations, with the Catholic Church the largest offender. In the public hearings, the private sessions and the research conducted for the Royal Commission spiritual trauma was clearly identified as an outcome of sexual abuse. And for survivors who belonged to religious traditions, they experienced significant levels of spiritual suffering and damage.

This article reports on my research undertaken in the public hearings detailing the character of spiritual injury and the impact of the responses by the affected institution on survivor witnesses. I will use a new system of classification that defines, identifies and analyses spiritual damage and comment on how survivors have moved towards new and positive understandings of spiritual life and wellbeing.