All Abusers Must Be Punished: Victims

The Telegraph
April 3, 2013

AN abuse victims advocate says nobody should be spared punishment for crimes against children, be they a charity, church, government or a 99-year-old individual.

On the first day of the royal commission into child sex abuse, Leonie Sheedy of the Care Leavers of Australia Network fought back tears as she called for the royal commission to "get it right".

She described the abuse of children in care as "Australia's grubbiest little secret", and said she wanted justice for victims.

"I want to see people who have sexually used children ... be made accountable," Ms Sheedy said.

"I don't care how old they are. I think if you're 99 and you're still alive you should face the full force of the courts of this country, you should be sentenced to appropriate sentences.

"I want to see the churches and charities and every state government held accountable for the criminal acts that were committed against us."

Ms Sheedy spent 13 years of her childhood in orphanages.

"Our families don't understand why we are the way we are," she said, her voice cracking.

She said before the royal commission, victims had felt invisible.

"We've never been listened to and we weren't believed," she said.

She said people had lived a long time with the trauma of abuse at the bottom of their hearts and victims could afford to wait a little bit longer for the commission to do its investigation correctly.

"This is our one opportunity to get it right and if it takes a long time, then so be it."


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