“You are believed” – First Anniversary of the National Apology to the Victims and Survivors of Institutional Childhood Sexual Abuse

Tuesday 22 October 2019 marks the first anniversary of the National Apology to the Victims and Survivors of Institutional Childhood Sexual Abuse.

To mark the significance of this day, His Excellency the Governor The Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and Mrs Lan Le are holding a reception at Government House. Relationships Australia South Australia’s Redress Support Services Clients have been invited to attend this important and poignant event.

Following the closure of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse in 2017, 439 recommendations were issued. One of these recommendations was that an apology is delivered to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, as well as their families, supporters and all those affected by abuse. This National Apology was delivered by Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP on 22 October 2018, and the then Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten addressed guests in the Greta Hall after the moving the National Apology in the House of Representatives.

An excerpt of the National Apology, delivered by the Prime Minister:

For too many years our eyes and hearts were closed to the truths we were told by children. For too many years governments and institutions refused to acknowledge the darkness that lay within our community. Today, we reckon with our past and commit to protect children now and into the future.

As fellow Australians, we apologise for this gross betrayal of trust and for the fact that organisations with power over children — schools; religious organisations; governments; orphanages; sports and social clubs; and charities — were left unchecked.

Today, we say we are sorry. Sorry that you were not protected, sorry that you were not listened to. We are sorry for refusing to trust the words of children, for not believing you.

As we say sorry, we also say we believe you. We say what happened was not your fault.

Today, we commit to take action, to build awareness in our community and strengthen our systems to promote children’s safety across Australia. We commit to ensuring that all of our institutions are child-safe.

We know that we must and will do better to protect all children in Australia from abuse and that our actions will give true and practical meaning to this apology.

Our children deserve nothing less.

Download the full apology here. 

Another recommendation made by the Royal Commission was for the Federal Government to establish a National Redress Scheme. This scheme commenced on 1 July 2018. Managed nationally by the Commonwealth Department for Social Services, the scheme aims to acknowledge the harm done to those who experienced institutional childhood sexual abuse, and support those impacted to access counselling, a direct personal response from the institution responsible and, potentially, a redress payment.

We provide a Redress Support Service with staff specially trained to support people to tell their story, to navigate the scheme and manage the impacts this process can bring.

For more information about our Redress Support Service, visit our Elm Place website: elmplace.org.au/our-services/redress-support-services  or free call on 1800 998 187

Elm Place at Relationships Australia South Australia (RASA) is the home of support services to people whose lives have been affected by institutional and out-of-home care as children specifically, Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants, the Stolen Generations, Post Care Support for young people transitioning out of care and people impacted by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse.