Anthony Foster hopes an uncomfortable and unfamiliar environment will open cracks in the armour of Australia's most senior Catholic, bringing out the truth about the decades-long child sexual abuse scandal.

Away from the church's army of lawyers and spin doctors, Cardinal George Pell will spend several hours alone at a table on Monday answering questions from a hard-hitting committee determined to get answers.

There will be questions about whether he personally knew of abuse and covered it up, about abusing priests being moved from parish to parish, victims being ignored and about victims who have ended their lives because of the pain of sexual abuse.

Cardinal Pell won't be able to refuse to answer when he appears before the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse.

Victims and their supporters expect Cardinal Pell - the former archbishop of Melbourne and current Sydney archbishop - to begin trotting out familiar Catholic Church lines, but know he will face tough questioning and hope he will stumble.

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart admitted under questioning this week there had been a cover-up by a previous archbishop, Sir Frank Little, of sex abuse matters involving priests.

Anthony Foster, whose two daughters were raped by Melbourne priest Kevin O'Donnell while they were in primary school, expects if Cardinal Pell does admit a cover-up he will try to blame Sir Frank, but thinks committee members may crack open the cardinal's armour.

"What we really want to see come out of this is full responsibility taken and a commitment to fully support the victims without any caps on payments," he told AAP on Friday.

"I think that what's going to happen is George Pell is going to be in a very different environment to that he has ever been before.

"What we have had in the past was the church controlling the information. Here we have a situation where they are going to be questioned by the parliament of Victoria.

"We know what the truth is. We know the church has covered up. We know that they should be looking after victims.

"We need the church to get to a point where they admit that, where they agree to that and where they support the changes to legislation that we know are necessary."

One of Mr Foster's daughters, Emma, turned to drugs and took her own life, while another daughter, Katie, was hit by a car while binge drinking and still needs 24-hour care for permanent disabilities.

Mr Foster once had a face to face with then archbishop Pell as he fought for compensation for one of his daughters.

"We experienced a sociopathic lack of empathy from him and that was typical of what we experienced from the church and that has continued to this very day," he said.

Cardinal Pell apologised in his Christmas Day message last year to those who suffered at the hands of priests, saying he was "deeply sorry" for the hurt that had occurred.

In a statement earlier this month, he welcomed the opportunity to appear before the inquiry.

Care Leavers Australia Network (CLAN) co-founder Leonie Sheedy said the world would be watching Cardinal Pell's evidence.

"I hope that Cardinal Pell will tell the truth for a start and I hope that he, as the highest representative of the Catholic Church in our country, will face up the heinous crimes that were committed against children by nuns, priests, brothers, lay people and members of the Catholic Church," she told AAP.

CLAN will protest outside parliament before the inquiry on Monday, unfurling banners including one with a photo of Cardinal Pell accompanying a pedophile priest to court.

Catholics for Renewal, who told the inquiry they were a group of committed Catholics who felt "very let down" by the way the church has been run, hope questions will be asked of Cardinal Pell about how such a scandal was ever allowed to happen.

"The question that Pell might well be asked is what investigations has the church undertaken of its systems and practices to find out if there are fundamental problems in that regard," Catholics for Renewal president Peter Johnstone said.

Judy Courtin, a PhD student studying sexual assault in the Catholic Church, said Cardinal Pell may admit to a cover-up, but he would likely blame Sir Frank, who died in 2008.

"The bottom line; I think he will be basically trying to avoid any personal prosecutions that is both civil and perhaps criminal," she said.

"That will be priority number one."

In a statement to AAP on Friday, Archbishop Hart said the inquiry had given victims an opportunity to be heard and he had listened to many victims and their families.

"It is good that the inquiry has heard our acknowledgement of the terrible failings of the church during the blight of child abuse that occurred prior to 1990, and of how we have changed since the 1980s and introduced a range of measures that support victims and prevent abuse," he said.

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