The aftermath of the Wentworth by-election may have obscured a powerful and emotional moment in our history when the Australian Parliament said sorry on behalf of the nation to all those who suffered from the tragic history of institutional child
It was a very special, powerful and wonderful moment.
However, it can never heal the scars inflicted on all those young children and teens that were so outrageously abused.
Some never got to see this day.
The apology is also not the end of the matter for this is unfinished business and we must be diligent in ensuring the national redress scheme functions with decency, fairness and justice. Its full course is yet to be charted and there are still many ways that scheme
can be improved.
Many institutions are still yet to sign up and already as revealed in Senate estimates recently there are claims that staff engaged in administering the redress scheme “didn’t have the appropriate skills to deal with individuals who had been traumatised”.
As my colleague Linda Burney said; “The National Apology marks not the end, but the
beginning of the process for delivering restitution and support for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. Survivors have been through so much and have waited so long. It is absolutely imperative that we get the rollout of National Redress Scheme right.”
Nor should any of us forget what has happened and the damage done.
As a community we must remain vigilant to make sure these things never, ever happen again.
Remember this redress scheme does not respond to all victims who were abused in institutional care…the real unfinished business is to ensure all victims are recognised and abuse is not just sexual.