East Timor’s lessons for our abuse Royal Commission

Eureka Street

Pat Walsh
November 28, 2012

The support group for victims of sexual abuse, Broken Rites, has proposed that victims be given the opportunity to tell their stories as part of the proceedings to be undertaken by the upcoming Royal Commission.

According to the Fairfax press on Monday, the group’s spokesman, Dr Wayne Chamely, is advocating that a ‘truth commissioner’ be appointed specifically for the purpose of listening to victims. The commissioner ‘would move around and meet people in their own communities’ and carry out this function concurrently with the Commission’s other terms of reference.

At the heart of this proposal is a conviction that the Royal Commission must be as victim-friendly as possible if it is to get at the whole truth, contribute to the healing of victims, educate the public about this entrenched issue and its origins, and generate effective recommendations.

Broken Rites is clearly concerned that the Royal Commission may not be able to adequately accommodate victims because some may not feel comfortable testifying in such a setting or will not be heard because the Commission, due to its anticipated huge work load, will have to be selective.

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