Abuse survivor urges politicians to introduce child protection measures
A survivor whose voice will be one of the last to be heard in the child abuse royal commission has urged political leaders to cast aside religious loyalties and urgently introduce strong child protection measures.
On Friday, the public hearings of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse will come to an end.
Over the past four years, the commission has revealed the disturbing extent of child abuse in religious and secular institutions across the country.
It has repeatedly uncovered far-reaching cover-ups of child sexual abuse, and shown how institutions have ostracised survivors and actively worked to undermine them.
The commission held more than 8,000 private sessions with survivors, 64% of whom were male, and 46% between 10 and 14 years old at the time they were abused. Five per cent of survivors were abused when they were under the age of five.
Perpetrators were overwhelmingly men, and most commonly members of the religious clergy (32%), teachers (21%) and residential care workers (13%).
The royal commission has already made a series of clear and unequivocal recommendations to federal and state governments.
Commissioners have urged for the creation of a national scheme of redress, a uniform and integrated working with children check system, mandatory reporting, and consistent child protection standards.
But state governments, including South Australia, have failed to act.
On Friday, the royal commission will give the last word to a group of six survivors, including Damian De Marco.
De Marco survived abuse in the Marist Brothers Catholic order, where abuse and cover-ups were rife.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.