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The_Age_125Anthony Foster, the tireless advocate for victims of child sexual abuse, is to receive a state funeral. Mr Foster, who ran a high-profile campaign accusing the Catholic Church of covering up abuse, died on Friday evening at the age of 64 after suffering a stroke.

 

Chrissie and Anthony Foster campaigned for abuse survivors after their own family was torn apart. Photo: Eamon Gallagher

Premier Daniel Andrews said he offered Mr Foster’s family a state funeral on Sunday afternoon, and his wife Chrissie had accepted.

Mr Andrews said Mr Foster would be remembered as a man who “quietly and profoundly changed Australian history”, after campaigning for justice from the Catholic Church.

“He fought evil acts that were shamefully denied and covered up,” Mr Andrews said in a statement. “He and Chrissie lost so much, but never their dignity, grace and strength. Anthony won’t be forgotten, and the fight for justice goes on.”

Two of the Foster’s daughters, Emma and Katie, were repeatedly raped by notorious paedophile priest Kevin O’Donnell while primary school students in Melbourne’s Oakleigh parish.

Mr Foster came to attention after publicly accusing Cardinal George Pell of hampering the family’s compensation claim against the Catholic Church when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

After a decade-long court battle, Emma took her own life at the age of 26. Her sister Katie drank heavily before being hit by a drunk driver in 1999, leaving her severely disabled and needing around-the-clock care.

Mr Foster famously told the Victorian inquiry into child sex abuse that Cardinal Pell had shown a “sociopathic lack of empathy” when he met with them.