Calls for New Zealand child abuse inquiry after damning Australian report

An Australian Royal Commission into child abuse has found an overwhelming amount happened in faith-based institutions.

The final report filled 17 volumes and detailed how institutions failed thousands of children in care.

It's strengthened calls for New Zealand's Royal Commission Inquiry - however the Catholic Church has rejected several key recommendations.

After its five-year investigation, the Australian Royal Commission's report has been labelled a "national tragedy". The commission said the Catholic Church had suffered catastrophic failures of leadership over many decades.

The greatest number of alleged perpetrators and abused children came from Catholic institutions. Of the 8000 who gave testimony of abuse in religious institutions, 62 percent were Catholic.

The report makes 189 recommendations. They include mandatory psychological testing for religious ministers working with children, and recommended Catholic priests practise voluntary instead of compulsory celibacy.

It also says abusers should not be protected by a priest's vow of secrecy surrounding the rite of confession - and priests be prosecuted if they fail to report evidence of paedophilia heard in the confessional.

Now it's raised the question of whether New Zealand should launch its own enquiry.

"It's been a really painful journey for Australia and it's a journey they've been on and something New Zealand is talking about right now," says Minister for Children Tracey Martin.

The Government has already agreed to investigate abuse in state care. Survivors told Newshub the scope of this inquiry should be extended to include faith institutions.

"Right now there is a group of ministers discussing what New Zealand's going to do with regard to an inquiry into historical abuse claims here in New Zealand," Ms Martin says.

One of those pushing for faith institutions to be included in the state care abuse inquiry is Bill Kilgallon. He handles the Catholic Church's sex abuse claims.

In March last year he told Newshub if we do have one it should be similar to that in Australia.

However the Australian Catholic Church says celibacy is irrelevant and so is confession. The church says it stands ready to compensate survivors, no matter what the cost.