THE royal commission on child abuse should "bring down religious institutions that think they are above the law", the father of an abuse victim says.
Healesville father Ian Lawther, whose son was sexually abused by a convicted Catholic priest for four years in the 1990s, said the commission was well overdue.
"I was absolutely elated," he said of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's announcement last Monday-week.
"Child abuse has been as big a disaster as anything in this country's history, bushfires and floods included.
"People can't function because of the PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] they experience as part of it. Our children are worthy of full protection."
The Weekly previously spoke to Mr Lawther earlier this year about his family's experiences. His son had been molested by priest David Daniel of the St Brigid parish in Healesville. Daniel was convicted in 2000.
Mr Lawther has long called for a royal commission. He says the history of cover-ups in the church needs to be revealed.
"I honestly thought that [the abuse of] my boy was a one-off. I learned very fast that you don't say the word 'paedophile' and 'priest' in the same sentence. Their faith is as though 'priest is God'."
Mr Lawther is now three-quarters blind because of the anguish caused by the abuse revelations.
He went into a "fit of rage" reading his son's court documents and burst blood vessels in his eyes.
The documents had led him to realise that Daniel had baptised his daughter at the same time he was molesting his son, all without his knowledge.
"I got so angry, I was going to kill him [the priest]," he said.
Since then, Mr Lawther has taken a front foot approach and even made damning remarks about several priests on an online forum in the hope of being taken to court.
"For 12 months I hoped they would sue me so I had a chance to get something on the public record."
The commission will investigate the Catholic church as well as other religious, state and community groups.
Mr Lawther believes this is merely "a bureaucratic proposal".
"Politicians have to appear to be equal in their announcements. But 99.99 per cent of the investigation would be about the Catholic church."
He hopes the findings from the commission will give his family "a father and husband back".
Mr Lawther's faith in God was altered by his experiences with the Catholic church, particularly the parishes he attended in Healesville and Box Hill.
"I look at God in an appreciative way now. I don't try to understand too many things in the background."