Royal commission will “bring forth a flood of victims”
LOCAL organisation for survivors of abuse, Heartfelt House, have responded to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's announcement of an inquiry into sex abuse of children at the hands of institutions, by pointing out the need for extra support for those who will be involved in the investigation.
The Prime Minister announced on Monday that a probe into the sexual abuse of children in response to the continued allegations in recent times concerning abuse and cover-ups by the Catholic Church in NSW.
Federal cabinet agreed to establish a commission that would look at the sexual abuse of children in institutions such as churches, charities, state governments, schools, community organisations and even the police, and the alleged failures to do anything about it.
"Any instance of child abuse is a vile and evil thing," said Ms Gillard.
"There have been too many adults who have averted their eyes to this evil."
Page MP Janelle Saffin has welcomed the announcement said it was welcome news for many in the local community who have wanted a thorough investigation into child sexual abuse within institutions.
"I feel that the truth can now come out, that people who have long suffered can be believed and validated, that stories and memories long buried but ones sufferers carry with them daily will be told," said Ms Saffin.
"The corrupting practice of disbelief, don't talk don't tell and fear can be exposed."
- Read Janelle Saffin's full statement here
Executive Director of Heartfelt House Vicki Dobrunz said she was glad to see the inquiry announced.
"Anything that's going to shine a light on abuse is fantastic," she said.
However Mrs Dobrunz said that she wonders what support will be provided to the victims who come forward in response to the probe.
"This inquiry is going to bring forward a flood of victims; those who decide to go public and those who are triggered by the media and decide they need help dealing with the effects of what happened to them as children. Where is the safety net for those people?"
"It's good to get it out into the open, but they need somewhere to go," she said.
And with minimal, if any, funding from the government to organisations like Heartfelt House, Mrs Dobrunz said, "We can't cater for all of them."
Mrs Dobrunz said that what Heartfelt House "ideally needs" is a promise from the government to cover their basic costs each year so they can help survivors of child abuse.
Heartfelt House are holding a seminar this Thursday in order to educate about the tactics perpetrators use to gain and maintain access to a child, dispel myths surrounding childhood sexual abuse, and present 'coping strategies' the adult adopts in order to survive the sexual abuse.
For more information on the workshop call 6628 8940.
Abuse in Australia
One in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused in some way before the age of 18 years
Until the early 1970's child sexual abuse was thought to be rare, and centered among the poor. Experts now agree that child sexual abuse has always occurred and still exists in all socio-economic groups.
In 95% of cases, the sexual abuse offender is known to the child; that is they are a relative or trusted friend. Only 5% of child sexual assault cases are 'stranger danger'.