Sex abuse Royal Commission urged to hold public meetings in regional Victoria
The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse should hold public hearings in country Victoria, according to institutional abuse lawyer, Penny Savidis.
Ms. Savidis said that public hearings would encourage more survivors living in regional and remote areas of Victoria to come forward.
She said that there was a groundswell of support for public hearings in regional centres similar to those staged in other states.
“The Commission has been doing an outstanding job. But because so many of the worst institutions were based in country areas, especially in western Victoria, it would really help some survivors deal with their anguish if they were allowed to speak up publicly in their local communities,” Ms. Savidis said.
There is no news yet from the Royal Commission if public hearings will be held in regional Victoria.
Ms. Savidis said public hearings have immense value for abuse survivors, allowing people to disclose their abuse publicly for the first time, or encouraging them to take their matters to the police.
"Many of our clients live in rural and regional Victoria. Some have already given evidence in private hearings, or have travelled to Melbourne to witness the Melbourne Response public hearing that was held in the city," she said.
"Private Commission sessions have been held in Ballarat and Bendigo, along with a few public information meetings, but there’s no indication yet if the Commission will actually hold public hearings in country areas of Victoria, like it has in other states," she said.
Ryan Carlisle Thomas maintains a large database of abuse survivors and old children’s’ homes where abuse is known to have occurred. It uses this information to successfully settle financial claims against religious orders and the State Government which ran institutions that abused children in care.
The Royal Commission has committed to completing 70 case studies nationally via the public hearing process before its final deadline in December 2017. As at December 2014, 21 case studies have been the focus of public hearings.
The waiting list for a private hearing with the Royal Commission is now nine months long.
The Royal Commission will release a public consultation paper on the compensation process, known as 'redress', in January 2015.
Since the 1990s, Ryan Carlisle Thomas has represented survivors of institutional abuse. We have provided legal support to more than 1800 survivors of abuse in church, state care and other institutional settings.
List of institutions located in regional Victoria where abuse has occurred. (Source: RCT Lawyers).
APPROX NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE ABUSE ALLEGATIONS VIA RYAN CARLISLE THOMAS SETTLEMENT PROCESS
|Bendigo Training Centre||State of Vic||2 persons|
|Malmsbury Youth Training Centre, Malmsbury||State of Victoria||1 person|
|Sandhurst, Bendigo||State of Victoria||5 persons|
|St Aidan’s Orphanage, Bendigo||Good Shepherd Sisters||14 persons|
|Ashendene Boys Home, Olinda||State of Victoria||11 persons|
|Ballarat Orphanage||Child and Family Services Ballarat||61 persons|
|Glastonbury Children’s Home, Geelong||Protestant/Glastonbury Child and Family Services||15 persons|
|Gordon Boys’ Home, Geelong||The Gordon Home for Boys and Girls Inc||12 persons|
|Kardinia Children’s Home, Geelong||The Salvation Army (Victoria) Property Trust||6 persons|
|Providence Children’s’ Home, Bacchus Marsh||Catholic Church via Melbourne Response||7 persons|
|St Augustine’s Orphanage, Geelong||The Trustees of the Christian Brothers||34 persons|
|St Catherine’s, Geelong||The Sisters of Mercy||7 persons|
|St Cuthbert’s Home for Boys, Colac||Ballarat Diocesan Trust (Anglican)||19 persons|
|Nazareth House, Sebastopol||Provincial Superior Sisters of Nazareth||26 persons|
|Morning Star Boys Home Mount Eliza||The Provincial Superior for the Congregation of the Franciscan Friars||10 persons|
|Sutton Grange||Mornington State of Victoria||2 persons|