VICTORIA Police has launched a scathing attack on the Catholic Church, accusing it of deliberately impeding its investigations into child abuse.
In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the handling of child abuse by churches, signed by Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, police recommend that some of the church's actions to hinder investigations be criminalised.
The submission lists a number of ways in which the church has hindered the criminal justice process, including dissuading victims of sexual crimes from reporting them to police, failing to engage with police and alerting suspects of allegations against them, ''which may have resulted in loss of evidence''.
It says the church moved or protected known or suspected sexual offenders. While the submission notes the church has recently improved co-operation with police, in some cases it has been reluctant to provide information even when a warrant was issued.
Police also say the typical delay in reports of sex offences within the church means more reports of alleged offences from the 1990s and early 2000s are expected in coming years.
Another submission, by lawyer Vivian Waller, who has represented more than 70 abuse victims, says that now-Cardinal George Pell refused to listen to a boy who was raped in Ballarat in 1969 soon after the event. But Father Pell was in the room when the victim told another priest what happened. Both times the victim tried to tell his story he was badly beaten, though not by the now Archbishop of Sydney, the submission says.