Thursday, April 4, 2013

Recollections hard for victims - and professionals

The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse commences hearings on April 3.

The commissioners and those who work with them are going to hear some extremely distressing stories of abuse. Some will be gut-wrenching. Some will produce feelings of revulsion and disgust. Some, even though true, will be hard to believe.

People who work in the area of child sex abuse know how distressing these stories can be. It is recognised that professionals who listen to and help victims of child sexual abuse are at risk of themselves suffering from compassion fatigue, a form of significant psychological distress including recurrent, intrusive recollections of what the abuse victim has related to them.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

All the lost children

YOU don't see it coming. That's what they say, after the abduction, the theft, the removal, the relinquishment.

Despite everything - poverty, deprivation, violence - you don't think it's possible. They wouldn't take your child. But they did, and they do. Right up to the 1980s, it didn't require much: unemployment, the death or desertion of a husband, or no husband to begin with. Aboriginal blood, or illness, mental or physical. Hunger. Sometimes it was "the welfare" in shiny black cars. Recognising them, mothers would yell to their children: Run! It might be someone in uniform - a nurse, a nun, a police officer. Or, more insidiously, someone with the familiar face of family.
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