Touting for abuse


Christopher Akehurst 23 August 2014

For well over a year now, the Royal Commission on child sex abuse has been trundling its inquisitional way around the country like Judge Jeffreys and his assizes. Soon its origin will be lost in the mists of antiquity; if anyone has already forgotten, the Royal Commission is the most enduring legacy of Julia Gillard. Floundering in her own ineptitude in the closing days of her unlamented prime ministership, she thought it up as an attention-grabber, a way to cash in on the even by then rather weary saga of clerical and other child abuse which, as far as the ABC and the rest of the right-on media are concerned, age can never wither nor the years condemn.

No doubt they would like it to go on forever, but there is some indication that the commission is running out of victims. I infer this from a telephone call a friend received one Sunday from a “market researcher” asking, quite out of the blue, whether the friend knew, should he happen to be a victim of sexual abuse, how he would go about bringing a complaint before the commission – in order to “share (his) story” as the commission’s website puts it.

That sounds to me like touting for custom, as though not enough “survivors” (as they have come to be called, as if they’d got out of a plane crash) have already come forward. If there’d been an avalanche of claims you’d think the commission would have its work cut out dealing with them without looking for more.

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