Finally. Last week in Australia marked the launch of our country's historic Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. More than 5,000 people are expected to share their experiences with the Commission and there will be many more who will hopefully gain some sense of justice through the telling of these horrific stories. As we should all now be well aware, child abuse is a crime perpetrated by pedophiles in all corners of the globe, but for myself as an Australian, to be here in Sydney when the launch happened this week, was a very proud and poignant moment.
The establishment of the Commission followed countless revelations of child abusers being moved from place to place by various institutions, instead of their abuse and crimes being reported. Of course many people, including victims, have known for years that this was happening, yet were powerless to act on this knowledge. There will be extremely disturbing revelations that adults refused to believe children when they spoke of this abuse and furthermore, in many cases did nothing to stop continuing acts of abuse on these same children. These revelations will be very close to home for many families, including my own, but finally the truth will be exposed. The Commission will examine the history of educational institutions, religious groups, sporting organizations, state institutions and youth organizations, among others.
Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who announced the Royal Commission in November last year, told ABC News Radio that the Commission is "an important moral moment for our nation." I wholeheartedly agree.
My thoughts are with those brave survivors who will be reliving their stories to the Commission; those in the Commission who will courageously bear the burden of listening to those stories; and the countless others who continue to carry the burden of their own stories of abuse quietly within themselves. It is a great shame that the outrage and sense of despair, which will no doubt be a huge burden to all concerned with this Commission, unfortunately won't even register on the moral compass of the despicable perpetrators and those who supported and harbored them for so long. Which is all the more reason why this battle must go on.
The prevention of child abuse is everyone's responsibility.
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To date, I'm proud to say that the Geddes Philanthropic Trust has donated more than US$4 million to assist globally in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
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