Today’s National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been welcomed by WayAhead – Mental Health Association NSW.
Today is an important day for many survivors, as the federal government formally apologises for the abuse they endured and the institutional trauma they had to live through during their childhoods and for many, the rest of their adult lives.
“We know just from hearing the survivors tell their stories the true impact sexual abuse has had on their entire lives, not just their mental health. We have heard through the Royal Commission how the abuse suffered by the survivors in their childhood has led to lifelong trauma, which as a nation we are truly sorry for,” said WayAhead CEO Elizabeth Priestley.
WayAhead supports many of the announcements made by the Prime Minister during today’s National Apology, including:
- Survivors will be able to access the psychological services they need to improve their lives
- Survivors will be able to get a direct personal response to their individual case from institutions where abuse occurred
- The Office of Child Protection to now report to the Prime Minister and be moved to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
- Strengthening the application process to gain a working with children check
WayAhead recognises that for some survivors of sexual abuse, today’s apology will do little to help them in their personal circumstances.
“For survivors who see today as meaningless or of no use to their personal circumstance, I want them to know that we believe you and there is help available, particularly in the mental health sector,” said Ms Priestley.
WayAhead would like to thank the many survivors who gave evidence during the Royal Commissions’ public hearings. This required survivors to have to re-live and talk publicly about the sexual abuse they lived through as a child. We could not be where we are today without survivors making their voice heard.
WayAhead also acknowledges the support that family members who have cared for survivors of child sexual abuse have contributed over many decades. We recognise their efforts supporting their loved ones through difficult circumstances and the vicarious trauma family members go through.
“What the Royal Commission has provided is the moment in time where all institutions, governments and communities who work with children and their families, where we say the abuse of children in our care must never happen again and we will do all we can to ensure this,” said Ms Priestley.
For anyone struggling to deal with todays events please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or the National Sexual Assault and Family Violence Counselling Service – 1800 737 732.