Opinion

Commission brings hope and healing

They say a week is a long time in politics.

It was only last Friday that I met up with Robbie Gambley to talk about the Blue Knot Day event he was organising to support victims of childhood sexual abuse.

That very morning on the radio I'd heard a senior NSW police detective break ranks and claim investigations into child sexual abuse were being blocked by the Catholic Church in what he called a systematic cover-up. That same day The Age newspaper in Melbourne ran a story about a ring of 15 religious brothers and an 'alpha paedophile' suspected of the unreported murder of two boys and the abuse of 40 more in the 1960s.

Calls for a Royal Commission have been made loudly and repeatedly over many years, and on that Friday morning as I heard the latest news reports and also listened to Robbie bravely tell The Echo his story, I never thought we'd have a Royal Commission announced within the week.

But now it's happened and victims' support groups all over the country are starting to feel that finally, a light may be shone into some very dark places.

Robbie Gambley came back to see me on Tuesday after Julia Gillard's announcement and he was pumping his fist in the air. Although he was able to get a conviction against the man who abused him, there was something in his face that wasn't there at our last meeting: hope.

Over the years I have spoken to several people who were raised in institutions run by the Church or the State that collectively became known as the 'Forgotten Australians'. The abuse they suffered has been well documented and a formal apology made in 2009, but many feel that was only a beginning. We have a letter this week from Barbara Lane from the local support group calling for a national redress scheme (see page 30).

The abuse of children in schools and through church organisations, while not unique to this country, is a national disgrace. People in positions of power and trust have abused their positions and ruined lives forever, often with consequences for the next generation.

The perpetrators need to be held accountable and hopefully the powers of the commission will allow justice and healing to take place.

Topics:  opinion


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Feed brain and body will take care of the rest

Psychologist and author on brain nutrition and dealing with female stress, Delia McCabe, talks at Lismore's City Library.

Delia McCabe talks about her new book in Lismore: Feed The Brain.

Multiple guns and drugs seized in raid

Guns seized from a property at Ellangowan.

Twp people have been charged following a raid this morning

Guns, bullets, and drugs seized in Northern Rivers raid

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016

Rural property searched and two people charged.

Latest deals and offers

Multiple guns and drugs seized in raid

SEVERAL firearms and cannabis plants and leaf were seized from a property at Ellangowan.

Guns, bullets, and drugs seized in Northern Rivers raid

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016

Rural property searched and two people charged.

Search for Lismore’s new supermodel

Senior finalists represented Lismore in the 2015 Tamblyn Model Discovery Grand Final.

Tamblyn Young Model Search held from Thursday at Lismore Square

Woolworths to sack 500 staff, close at least 17 stores

This is despite the supermarket earning $2.5 billion for the year.

The best and worst bits of Splendour from our experts

The Amphitheatre received Flume with open arms and danced to his music on Sunday night.

Glitter, fake marriages, see-through clothing and gorgeous weather

NORPA brings My Radio Heart back

Performers in the NORPA co-production My Radio Heart, from left, Randolf Reimann, Phoebe Rose, Mathew Daymond, Claudie Frock, Zac Mifsud (sitting), and Lydian Dunbar. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

The piece premiered in 2014 in Lismore

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Have a Stoli Bolly and let's go darling!

THEY ARE BACK: Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

Absolutely Fabulous, The Movie hits the screens

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started