AUSTRALIA offers rare national apology to child sex abuse victims.

Canberra : Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a national apology to thousands of victims of institutional sex abuse Monday, admitting the state utterly failed to stop ''evil, dark crimes'' committed over decades.

''This was done by Australians to Australians, enemies in our midst, enemies in our midst,'' Morrison said in an emotional address to parliament, designed as a belated apology to the 15,000 known survivors of child abuse.

''As a nation we failed them, we forsook them, and that will always be our shame.'' he said, recounting abuse that a government inquiry has shown was virtually endemic to schools, churches, orphanages, sports clubs and other institution across country over decades.

Morrison's voice cracked and trailed off as he recounted a history of exploitation, cover-ups and state failure. He declared a new national credo in the face for future allegations : ''We believe you''.

The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed harrowing child sex abuse claims involving once well-trusted institutions.

''Today, we are sorry, to the children we failed. Sorry. To the parents whose trust was  betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces, Sorry. To the  whistleblowers, who we did not listen to. Sorry,'' Morrison said.
''To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands, children, who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstructions. Sorry. To generations past and present. Sorry.''

In parliament, lawmakers stood for a moment of silence following the remarks, as hundreds of survivors looked on or watched in official events across the country.[AFP]

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