· Justice Peter McClellan AM announces that registrations for private sessions will close on 30 September 2016
Australia, 29 April 2016 – With the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse announcing that registrations for private sessions will close on 30 September 2016, Blue Knot Foundation (formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA)) has reignited calls for government to commit to a National Redress Scheme ahead of the Federal Election.
Blue Knot Foundation, the leading national organisation working with adult survivors of all forms of childhood trauma, including child sexual abuse, supports the key recommendation of the Royal Commission’s September 2015 Redress Report. It states the optimal way to deliver equal, fair and just treatment to survivors is to establish a single National Redress Scheme.
President of Blue Knot Foundation, Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, said: “As the Royal Commission begins notifying survivors of the limits around registrations for private sessions, it is imperative that the appropriate support services are in place; services to which survivors can speak, be heard, and assisted on the road to recovery.
“Redress is about delivering justice – through compensation, a direct personal response from institutions (when desired), and accessible and equitable counselling and psychological care provided by experienced trauma-informed health professionals.
“A single National Redress Scheme would achieve significant efficiencies in administration, and, for survivors be more user-friendly and deliver consistent and fair access to appropriate treatment. This is an urgent call to the Government to expedite the right scheme right now so there is no wrong door to the right help.
“We need action to reassure those who bravely told their story, whether in public hearings or private sessions, that their courage will be a catalyst for systemic changes to optimise the safety of our children in institutions in the future,” Dr Kezelman said.
Ahead of the previous Federal Election, the Labor Government committed to establishing a national redress scheme, with $33 million announced towards a national redress agency and advisory council.
Dr Kezelman continued: “Survivors have put a lot of trust in the Commission and in its processes and that trust has been rewarded. Survivors also look to our elected leaders for it is the government of the day which reviews the Commission’s reports and decides the recommendations it implements and the timeframe.
“It has been incredibly disappointing that the Coalition has chosen a ‘national approach’ to redress a commitment, falling well short of that of a national redress scheme. Blue Knot Foundation and its fellow survivor-focussed organisations strongly fear that a disparate scheme with national principles will not provide the fair and equitable response survivors need and deserve,” she said.
The reality is that many survivors have waited decades to be heard and for appropriate redress. The gradual winding down of the Commission, flagged by Justice McClellan today, marks a historic moment at which the baton of care and responsibility must now be fully taken up by Government.
Help and support is available from the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380, 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Sunday, or visit the Blue Knot Foundation website: www.blueknot.org.au
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About Blue Knot Foundation
Blue Knot Foundation (formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse) is the leading national organisation supporting the estimated five million Australian adults who are survivors of childhood trauma, including abuse, their families and communities. Blue Knot Foundation provides hope, optimism and pathways to recovery for those affected.
At the forefront of pioneering trauma-informed policy, practice, training and research, the organisation has been instrumental in supporting the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and people engaging with it. This includes the training of key workers and practitioners.
In 2012 Blue Knot Foundation released Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery, a global first in setting the standards for clinical and organisational practice. In 2015 the organisation released an Economic Report, The Cost of Unresolved Childhood Trauma and Abuse in Adults in Australia, leading the conversation around the economic imperative of providing the right services for adult survivors.
Formed in 1995, Blue Knot Foundation provides a range of services including specialist short-term phone counselling, support, information, and referral pathways extensive resources including fact sheets and videos, educational workshops for survivors and family members, partners and loved ones, and professional development training, supervision, consultancy for personnel and professionals from diverse services and sectors, including community, health, legal and justice sectors.