Statement on the national apology to survivors

In all of its work, knowmore legal service acknowledges survivors of institutional child sexual abuse and their families and the ongoing, intergenerational suffering and trauma that they have experienced.

Our service welcomes the national apology delivered to victims and survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse on Monday October 22 by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and supported by the Parliament of Australia. We recognise too that there are many victims who have died waiting for this moment.

The national apology signifies to Australia that the abuse experienced by victims and survivors was wrong and illegal and represents a national, collective shame to ensure lasting impact, an ongoing commitment to action must follow.

This action includes holding to account the institutions and organisations that allowed perpetrators to abuse children, and protected those perpetrators while failing to protect the most vulnerable people. It is imperative that these institutions aim to become transparent and accountable to ensure that abuse cannot continue to happen.

Those institutions and organisations now have the opportunity to acknowledge and address the harm they have caused, by participating in the National Redress Scheme. The scheme is important for many survivors whose only potential legal pathway to justice is a claim of redress.

knowmore is currently working with over 2,300 clients who are exploring their options around redress, as well as other legal pathways. We also supported over 8,000 people through the five years of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

Survivors who have lodged redress applications against institutions that are yet to sign up to the scheme must continue to wait for their claims to progress, which means they are unable to move forward at this stage. We would urge those institutions to join the scheme to allow those claims to progress.

For victims and survivors of abuse, it is never too late to tell someone about abuse they may have experienced or to seek out support from services.

Many people who have suffered institutional childhood sexual abuse are on a journey of recovery, and can benefit from the assistance of appropriate support, encouragement and understanding. View the list of NRS support services.

We invite anyone who would like to contact us for free legal help to call us on 1800 605 762.