Nearly $28,000 has been raised in just one day to help send clerical abuse survivors to confront Cardinal George Pell in person.
A Go Fund Me page was set up yesterday afternoon by Meshel Laurie and Gorgi Coghlan who both work on Network Ten’s The Project to cover the costs of flights and accommodation.
By midday, the fund had raised more than $12,700 and at the time of writing of (5:40pm) $27,655 had been reached with the final goal being $55,000 so they can send 15 representatives from Ballarat to be in Rome when the Cardinal gives his evidence into the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Abuse.
(UPDATE: The fund has now tipped past the $75,000 mark.)
“The opportunity to face Cardinal Pell is the least our community can do for these brave people who have bared their souls to ensure the world is a safer place for all children,” the page’s creators wrote.
Cardinal Pell was due to give evidence in Ballarat but is said to be too ill to travel, so he will miss his chance to speak on February 29 and will instead do it over video link.
It’s not yet confirmed whether Pell will give the evidence in a public forum. If it isn’t, the funds will be sent to the Healing Centre for Survivors in Ballarat. However survivors are currently wishing for Pell to give evidence outside of the wall of the Vatican, requesting he do it at the Australian embassy in Rome.
Pell’s evidence will cover how the church handled claims of child sex abuse by clergy during his time as a priest in the Ballarat diocese in the 1970s and 80s as well as his time as the archbishop of Melbourne.