Australian clerical abuse victims have arrived in Rome as Cardinal George Pell gets set to take the stand at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Ballarat clerical abuse victims have made the 16,000 kilometre trip to the Italian capital as Pell readies to front the commission on Monday, Australian time, to give evidence about his time as an adviser to former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns.
Some of the survivors are said to have touched down in Rome on Saturday morning.
The commission usually hears evidence in Australia, but Pell has been excused from fronting it in person for medical reasons.
Abuse survivor David Ridsdale said the group didn't know what to expect.
"What I do know is that everything we've achieved is because of the group of survivors who have come forward and stuck together," he told Macquarie Radio Network.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) February 26, 2016
The abuse survivors are expected to be in the same hotel conference room as Pell when he gives evidence.
Survivors of abuse at Catholic institutions in Ballarat were helped getting to Rome by a crowd funding campaign that raised more than $170,000 in three days.
Donations to the campaign surged after comedian and musician Tim Minchin released a song urging Pell to return to Australia to appear at the commission.
Minchin has called on Pell to "get on his knees" and wash the feet of those abused by Catholic priests.
Pell evidence is expected to probe how the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat responded to wide-spread abuse.
In early February, the commission accepted medical evidence a long-haul flight posed risks to the Cardinal's health.
In a statement, Pell said he was always ready to meet with victims of church abuse.
"Cardinal Pell has always helped victims, listened to them and considered himself their ally," Pell's statement said.
"As an archbishop for almost 20 years he has led from the front to put an end to coverups, top protect vulnerable people and to try and bring justice to victims.
"As Cardinal Pell has done after earlier hearings, he is prepared to meet with and listen to victims and express his ongoing support."Suggest a correction