At the beginning of March 2016, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign that in a few days reached over $ 200.000, a group of Australian survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy flew from the town of Ballarat to Rome to confront Cardinal Pell who was giving evidence via video-link to the Royal Commission in Sydney over questions as to whether he knew about paedophile priests operating in the city of Ballarat in the south of the country in the 1970's and 1980's.
Australian Cardinal George Pell - who is now head of the Vatican’s secretariat for the economy - was a priest in the city during the early 1970s and lived in a seminary with Gerald Ridsdale, who committed at least 130 offenses against young boys between the 1960s and 1990s.
Pell was initially due to fly to Melbourne in December to give evidence in person, but he cancelled at the last minute, with his lawyers tendering medical documents to the commission which said Pell was too ill to fly.
“Ballarat Survivors Group” is an association that demands the Church and the Australian Government not only justice for the victims but also a specific welfare program to repair the permanent damages of the victims of pedophilia. The majority of these men are not able to work, have developed mental illnesses or dependencies on drugs and alcohol. The “Survivors” are the voice of the victims who don't have a voice because they've died prematurely and of those who turned to suicide because the pain of the sex crimes was too great to bear. Today in Ballarat, especially within these abused generations, many men suffer of alcohol issues. This is one of the reason why Ballarat boasts the not enviable leadership on male suicides and male violence in Australia.