Emotional trip for Jurds

By Dannielle Maguire
Armidale Express
April 27, 2016

FOUR generations from one family have been left with the scars from child sexual abuse.

Grandmother Claire Jurd had to bury a son, Peter Jurd has lost a brother, Claire-Anne Jurd has had to confront adulthood without a father, and little Indi will never know her grandfather. 

Together, they tied a ribbon for the man missing from their family – Damian Jurd, who took his own life after being sexually abused by former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell. 

Damian spoke up about what happened to him, however, charges laid in 1987 against the defrocked priest went to a committal hearing and were dismissed by a magistrate.

It was reported the magistrate thought Damian, who was 15 at the time, was not as credible a witness as the priest.

The abuse took its toll on Damian, who ended his life in 2001.

He was just 28-years-old.

Nearly 10 years later and on Thursday, his family travelled from Tamworth to Armidale to honour Damian’s memory.

They were special guests at the launch of the Loud Fence campaign at the Folk Museum in Faulkner Street. After addressing the crowd, Peter Jurd said Thursday’s service was about remembering those who couldn’t be there to tie a ribbon.

“Also it’s a good way of keeping it out in the social sphere,” he said.

“With the Royal Commission [into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse] and all that going on at the moment, I think the more activities like this we have, the more victims of sexual assault feel comfortable talking about it. 

“It’s such an emotional, hard thing to talk about.

“And it’s a big thing for them to come forward and talk.”

Claire-Anne Jurd said it was an emotional visit to the city. 

“It’s good to see it finally coming to justice,” she said. 

“It’s overwhelming [but] it’s good.”

Ms Jurd said she’d like to see the movement replicated in more communities. 

“It should go further than just Armidale,” she said.

“It should be broader than it is.”


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