NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey joined this week with survivors and families to bear witness to the National Apology to Survivors and Victims of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.
Ms Lourey attended the Sydney Opera House on Monday 22 October to watch the NSW telecast of the National Apology, which was delivered by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“For many people, this week’s National Apology will be an important step in their healing from childhood trauma,” Ms Lourey said.
“After five years of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, our nation’s highest officials have said sorry for the suffering and pain that thousands of Australians have endured.
“For many, this pain has not been confined to childhood, but rather followed them throughout their lives and affected their mental health, physical health, relationships, ability to study and work, and much more.”
Ms Lourey said the National Apology would also be a confronting and difficult time for many survivors. She acknowledged the strength, resilience and courage that survivors show on a daily basis, most especially when their experiences are in the national spotlight.
“The Royal Commission may be over, but our work to support survivors of childhood sexual abuse is not. We have a responsibility to follow up with practical action that helps people on their path to recovery,” Ms Lourey said.
“Organisations and groups that provide support must recognise there are many forms of abuse and trauma, and they must be educated and equipped to provide trauma-informed care.
“Trauma-informed care is an approach where the focus is on helping people to feel safe, build trust and be empowered. People should never, ever be at risk of being re-traumatised by services that are there to help them.”
To read more about what actions Australia’s Mental Health Commissions believe need to be taken in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, please refer to this joint Consensus Statement, released in June 2017.