Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised an apology to survivors of institutional child abuse, saying an official statement of recognition and remorse is necessary “after years, decades, of authorities’ denial of responsibility.”
Speaking before parliament today, Turnbull said the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse asked survivors to detail “the worst moments of their lives, often telling their stories for the first time, so these terrible abuses would never be allowed to happen again.”
Turnbull said “being heard and being believed” means “much more than many of us would imagine,” adding “we owe it to survivors not to waste this moment and we must continue to be guided by their wishes.”
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) February 7, 2018
In his response, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the royal commission “has shown, without doubt, the extraordinary courage of all the survivors who stepped forward to tell their story.
“The brave souls who reached back into the darkness of their memories and brought their suffering to life. Not for their own sake – because they won’t another generation to suffer the way they did. To be disbelieved the way they were; to live with the pain that they had to.”
The structure and scope of the apology will be determined by a reference group centred around abuse survivors. The apology will be delivered at some point before the end of the year.
The statement came during Turnbull’s update on the implementation of a redress scheme, one of the royal commission’s key recommendations. Turnbull urged individual states and territories to sign up to the government’s plan, which would see $4 billion in redress given to survivors of institutional child abuse.
That system is expected to come into effect on July 1.
If you would like to talk to a counsellor about rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, give the people over at 1800 RESPECT a call on 1800 737 732.