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World news in brief

03 November 2023

Albin Hillert/LWF-Life on Earth Pictures

WCC guide raises awareness of childbirth injury

THE World Council of Churches (WCC) has published a free guide to help church communities around the world to raise awareness of obstetric fistula: a childbirth injury usually caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without timely medical intervention. The booklet also sets out how communities can offer practical and emotional support for women who are suffering with the condition, which WCC considers to be a human-rights concern. The World Health Organization estimates that two to three million women live with untreated obstetric fistula, mainly in Asia and Africa. oikoumene.org


RC Church in Australia loses abuse challenge

THE Australian High Court, in a landmark ruling, has severely limited the use by the Roman Catholic Church of permanent stays in non-recent sexual-abuse cases, writes Muriel Porter, Australia correspondent. The Church had argued that delayed disclosure, the death of perpetrators, and the loss of records meant that the Church was unable to receive a fair trial. On Wednesday, however, the High Court ruled that a case for compensation brought by a survivor, “GLJ”, which had been permanently stayed in a lower court, could proceed. The survivor alleges that she was abused, aged 14, by a priest in Lismore, in rural New South Wales. Lismore diocese had argued that it could not properly investigate the abuse because the priest had died in 1996, before GLJ brought her case. Her lawyers have argued that the Church knew of his abuse at the time, but had failed to investigate his conduct. In their decision, Chief Justice Susan Kiefel and Justices Stephen Gageler and Jayne Jagot said any other use of stays would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.


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