Wednesday, July 24, 2013

$45m fund boost to help victims of child sex abuse

Survivors of child sexual abuse taking part in the current royal commission will be given more support, following a $45 million injection into community-based service providers.

The federal government will on Sunday list 28 support services around the nation that are sharing in the grants, to be used to help people wanting to submit evidence, attend royal commission hearings or cope emotionally with the proceedings.

The money will help those who have been personally affected by child sexual abuse and the families and carers of victims.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Good Shepherd Sisters denying history

The recent claims, by lawyer and lobbyist Bryan Keon-Cohen, that the Catholic Church is a law unto itself in its resistance of governmental responses to child abuse, could be applied to Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.
On the 22nd of this month, Good Shepherd, an organisation established by the Good Shepherd Sisters has scheduled a Festival at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne in order to celebrate 150 years since the Good Shepherd Sisters arrived in Australia. The problem is that the summary, by Trish Carroll, Good Shepherd Mission Leader, of the history of the organisation, conveniently excludes the work of the Sisters in the twentieth century. So allow me to fill in the resounding gap.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Brian back from the dead to rise and shine

After his obituary was published, Mark Twain said, 'The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.' When news of your demise hits Facebook the results are equally spectacular.

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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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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Judge Stephen McEwen terms child service officials controls freaks

THE protection of troubled children has been hijacked by obstructive control freaks who rely on psychological advice instead of obvious solutions, a judge says.
Senior Youth Court judge Stephen McEwen has levelled scathing criticism against the Department for Education and Child Development - formerly known as Families SA.
In a transcript obtained by the Sunday Mailhe said the department was paralysed by its reliance on a team of highly paid psychologists. He said dedicated, caring social workers had been handcuffed and vulnerable children left at risk of further harm.
"If this sounds a little bit like a dummy spit, that's because it is," he said. "I'm just sick and tired of that entire department being obstructive control freaks, constantly throwing up pseudo-reasons dressed up in social work speak for refusing to just have a look at the blindingly obvious.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Royal commission will override confidentiality agreements

The head of the royal commission into child sexual abuse has vowed to use its powers to override confidentiality agreements between victims and institutions if the information is necessary to its investigation.

The six commissioners appointed by the Federal Government to investigate allegations of systemic abuse within religious and state-run institutions have held their first face-to-face meeting in Sydney today.

Monday, December 3, 2012

'They need to make this right': Distress at broken vow over apology

Susan Treweek has had a harder life than most.  Which is why a 2010 apology made to her and other survivors who, as children, had been placed by the state of Queensland into adult mental institutions meant so much.

The apology was an acknowledgement that the 1999 Forde Inquiry into the abuse and neglect of children in state and religious institutions, and subsequent apology, did not cover all the survivors' experiences.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bravehearts and the National Child Protection Alliance are seeking a Royal Commission

Bravehearts and the National Child Protection Alliance are seeking a Royal Commission into the handling of child sexual abuse cases by the different systems that are responsible for the care and protection of children. In the last two weeks we learned that a South Australian Education Department administrator banned a school council from informing parents that their children had been cared for by a (now convicted) paedophile who had raped a young child. The parents were informed by letter two years later and, of course, some parents are now finding that their children were also abused. Seemingly, no counselling was offered for children, parents or staff. The issue has become political because the Premier was then Education Minister and his assistant failed to tell him that the man had been arrested. Worse, school council members were threatened that if they disclosed what had happened they could be taken to court.
This was not the first time that parents were kept in the dark. A few weeks earlier, police banned child care centre management from informing parents that another sex offender had been arrested.
Now we have senior police in Victoria and New South Wales having the courage to expose the fact that the Catholic Church not only impeded inquiries into child sex offences but competent police officers were removed from the investigations. Sadly, international research shows that abuse by clergy is even more damaging than incest because it involves God and spiritual abuse. Victims are often told that they were chosen by God to suffer the pain of abuse and, at the same time, they were made to take the blame by being required to confess the sin to the very priest who had committed it.
In addition, the Family Court continues to punish children who disclose sexual abuse by a parent or parent figure. Mothers (and occasionally fathers) have been (and are still being) accused of training the children to make these disclosures and they, not the accused, are required to undergo psychiatric assessment. The accused are given responsibility for the residence and care of the children and the protective parents may be banned from contact or ordered to have occasional supervised contact and the supervisors write reports on their parenting skills.. but no-one observes and reports on the accused person's  parenting skills when children are in their care. Furthermore after ordering children to live with the parents accused of abusing them, there is no follow-up relating to their well-being. The current Chief Justice and her predecessor confirm that the Family Court lacks the facility to investigate child sex abuse cases and state child protection services are often under the impression that they cannot intervene if a federal court order is in place or a case is in the Family Court.
The reality is that no organisation is protecting young and disabled children from sexual abuse if they lack the sophisticated communication skills needed to withstand rigorous cross examination by barristers in a criminal court.

Would readers who support a Royal Commission please email Hetty Johnson  -

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Ambassadors will raise public awareness - Tuart Times WA

Jenny Aldrick and Ron Love recently returned
from a five day ‘Forgotten Australian Ambassador
Project’ Training Course, held at Hindmarsh in Adelaide
in October.

Jenn and Ron joined ten other ‘Forgotten
Australians’ from around the country for training in
presenting information sessions to relevant service
providers and other community sectors to raise awareness
of the issues affecting people who experienced out-of home
care during childhood.

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