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.

Shark victim: "I just want to enjoy being alive today'

A young surfer had a lucky escape after being hit by a shark at Broken Head near Byron Bay. Photo: Twitter - Geoffrey John Knapp.

“I just want to enjoy being alive today.''

Federal grant keeps NORPA telling our local stories

ANNOUNCEMENT: NORPA's Producer Marisa Snow, Artistic Director Julian Louis, General Manager Patrick Healy, Chair David Wolff, with Member for Page Kevin Hogan.

Arts company granted almost $400,00 over two years

Brave boy uncovers man's cow sex, child sexual abuse

A beast in the main arena at the 2012 Ekka.

Police praise boy for testimony of man's abuse and sex with a cow

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals