STRIKE Force Georgiana was launched in October 2007 from Lake Macquarie local area police command.
In seven years 480 charges have been laid against 14 alleged offenders, and more than 350 witness statements have been obtained.
Five alleged offenders – three Catholic priests and two brothers – are currently before the courts.
Convicted priests include John Denham and the late Tom Brennan, who was the first Australian Catholic priest charged with concealing a serious crime. Priest John Houston pleaded guilty to filming a 14-year-old boy in a Blacksmiths public shower.
Lake Macquarie Commander, Superintendent Brett Greentree, praised the bravery of people who reported historic child sexual abuse to police, and said Strike Force Georgiana was an intensive and extremely involved investigation.
‘‘Substantial police have been involved in this investigation, but I would like to thank Detective Sergeant Faber and her team for their diligence in pursuing these matters,’’ he said.
Hunter police have investigated a large number of other historic child sexual abuse allegations involving churches, children’s homes and other institutions.
Three former staff or volunteers at the United Protestant Association’s Woodlands children’s home at Wallsend have been charged with more than 100 offences involving more than 20 alleged victims.
Former Anglican youth worker James Michael Brown had his sentence doubled to more than 12 years after he was convicted in 2012 of crimes against 20 boys, including offences at St Alban’s Boys’ Home at Aberdare.
In August Newcastle Local Area Commander John Gralton announced Strike Force Arinya-2 to investigate historic child sex allegations involving the Anglican Church, and Newcastle diocese’s handling of allegations.
A former Catholic brother, Bernard McGrath, is fighting extradition to Australia after he was charged with more than 250 offences, including sexually abusing boys at a Hunter Catholic centre.
Hunter police have also charged a Salvation Army officer with historic child sexual abuse offences, and in Strike Force Lantle conducted Australia’s first major police investigation of senior Catholic clergy for concealing the crimes of a paedophile priest.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse marked its first year of public hearings on Tuesday.
Its 17th public hearing starts next week after previous hearings into institutions including the Catholic and Anglican churches, the Salvation Army, Swimming Australia and the YMCA.
More than 160 allegations of child sexual abuse to the royal commission have been referred to police.
The royal commission has received allegations of abuse at more than 1000 institutions. It will deliver its final report in December 2017.
An earlier version of this story wrongly stated that Catholic priest John Houston had been convicted.
He entered guilty pleas in 2009 to filming a 14-year-old boy in a Blacksmiths public shower, and successfully applied to have the matters dealt with under mental health legislation.