Australia is finally waking up to its shocking history and scale of child abuse.
A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse exposed serious failings and sparked action to tackle the problem.
And while there have been positive steps in understanding and supporting survivors, some our most vulnerable are not benefiting from this progress.
Victims from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, those with disabilities in remote communities and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples, still face many barriers to accessing justice.
We must act now or risk leaving behind those who need help the most.
Unfortunately, there’s a lack of data about the rates of abuse within CALD communities which prevents us getting a clear picture of the problems.
However, statistics indicate that approximately:
This snap shot may only be the tip of the iceberg, but should prompt urgent action.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that survivors took nearly 24 years on average to disclose their abuse – if they ever feel able to speak out.
A combination of factors deterred victims in general, but especially those from vulnerable communities, speaking up:
Many people from CALD communities, those with disabilities or in remote communities can feel cut off from everyday support services.
These basic care and legal services are often where victims go first to report abuse and seek help. Without ready access, they will struggle to find assistance.
Often, a few small changes and improvements can make an enormous difference. Here are four steps that would dramatically improve access to support and legal advice to survivors struggling to find help.
It is important that survivors are able to access adequate support from a qualified treating practitioner and legal advice about their rights and entitlements from a lawyer.
Accessibility to support and legal advice play a crucial role in contributing to positive long-term outcomes, including recovery and rehabilitation.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse or violence, we recommend that you contact following services:
It should shock us all that today in Australia so many victims are going without access to justice.
There’s a great deal of truth in the saying that you can judge a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable – so it’s time for action.
If you or someone you love is a survivor of childhood abuse, we are here to support you and get the justice you deserve.
Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.