Sydney, October 22: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a national apology to victims of child sex abuse in an address to Parliament, acknowledging that the state failed to stop, what he termed, evil dark crimes committed over decades.
"This was done by Australians to Australians, enemies in our midst, enemies in our midst," he told a parliamentary chamber in Canberra.
"As a nation, we failed them, we forsook them, and that will always be our shame. We say sorry."
The inquest revealed shocking evidence from more than 17,000 survivors and heard allegations against government, church and private institutions, as well as prominent individuals.
"Even after a comprehensive royal commission, which finally enabled the voices to be heard and the silence to be broken, we will all continue to struggle," he said.
"So today, we gather in this chamber in humility, not just as representatives of the people of this country, but as fathers, as mothers, as siblings, friends, workmates and, in some cases, indeed, as victims and survivors."
The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed more than 15,000 survivors' harrowing child sex abuse claims involving thousands of institutions.
A series of institutions have already apologised for their failings, including Australian Catholic leaders who have lamented the church's history of child abuse and cover-ups.