Centrecare welcomes the announcement of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. The stated intention to gain a national overview of the extent and nature of child sexual abuse is highly desirable. Child abuse continues to be a very sorry aspect of Australian life and there are very many children that continue to suffer from the abuse of parents and trusted others.
The children, many of them now adults, who have been abused deserve to be heard and to have their pain publically acknowledged. It is also essential that the Royal Commission process treats everyone that has been mistreated with respect and genuine acceptance. It is sincerely hoped that as a result of this process the victims and their loved ones gain some solace from having their hurt heard and accepted.
It is also our hope that those accused of perpetrating sexual abuse be treated justly and those that are found guilty of child molestation, or who have been complicit in such abuse, be held accountable for their appalling behaviour.
Despite ongoing efforts to deal with the causes and effects of child abuse the number of children in State care continues to rise. A possible by-product of this Royal Commission may be the development of a greater sensitivity and awareness of our individual and communal responsibility to ensuring the wellbeing of our children. The Commission may lead us to ask ourselves what it is about our institutions and our community that both inadvertently and directly contributes to the presence and child abuse among us. It may also take us to face an even more painful question and that is how each one of us contributes, however unintentionally, to such abuse. The answers to these questions are fundamental to eliminating child mistreatment from our nation.