Royal commission: Catholic Church urged to show 'moral compass' ahead of clergy sexual abuse hearings

The Catholic Church is being urged to show its "moral compass" as an inquiry resumes in Melbourne into alleged child sexual abuse by priests.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will hear from victims and representatives of the church, including Cardinal George Pell, who is scheduled to give evidence via video link from the Vatican on Thursday.

The church has moved to change its long-standing policy on the way it handles sexual abuse cases, but compensation and redress for victims remains an issue.

The Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) is pushing for a national independent redress scheme.

In the short term, chief executive officer Leonie Sheedy wants churches and charities to start contributing to a fund, primarily to pay the funeral expenses of victims.

"We can't wait for next year, our people are elderly. They're dying," she said.

"The Catholic Church and all the churches and charities need to fess up and they need to show their moral compass."

Ms Sheedy spent 13 years in an orphanage in Geelong, as did both her brothers, and each endured years of abuse.

Witnessing the abuse of another young girl at St Catherine's Orphanage crystallised Ms Sheedy's own determination to represent abuse victims.

"It was horrific to see other children being hurt and abused," she said.

'Catholics look upon this with disgust'

Father Kevin Dillon of St Mary's of the Angels Catholic Church in Geelong runs a support group for abuse victims, showing the sort of compassion he believes has been lacking in the church's response to alleged child sexual abuse.

"It's not easy to hear the stories, often where the offenders have been people who I have known," he said.

"It's not easy to hear the dismay of people who have come to the church looking for help and have been left found wanting."

Father Dillon is hoping for a complete overhaul of the way the church handles sex abuse cases, including removing caps on payouts.

"The fact that so many victims have felt so inadequately recognised by the system that's been in place, is really in a large degree why we have a royal commission in the first place," he said.

"When you hear stories from people who were six, seven, eight years of age when they were offended, it is just heartbreaking, and it is life changing for them and indeed for so many ordinary Catholics who look upon all of this with a sense of utter dismay, if not disgust."

In a written submission to the commission last week the Catholic Church said it wants the Government to set up a national scheme to determine claims and compensation.

The scheme would be independently run, but would be funded by institutions where abuse occurred.