Child abuse royal commission: NSW Government increases resources to help deal with claims
The move is part of a number of measures the Government has introduced to address some of the issues raised by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Five initiatives have been unveiled to support survivors and help them seek assistance in response to matters raised by inquiry.
The Government said it would boost resources at the Department of Family and Community Services to ensure people could access their care records quicker and to clear the backlog of applications by mid 2015.
NSW agencies will also have access to 18 guiding principles to help them respond to civil claims for child sexual abuse.
A memorial will also be established at Parramatta Girls Home in Sydney to recognise the children who experienced sexual and physical abuse at the facility.
The Government said it would consult survivors and advocacy groups to determine whether a state-wide memorial could also be built.
NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard said the State Government had recognised the mistakes of the past and was resolved that they should never happen again.
“This is about instigating cultural change so we can make a difference in NSW and improve support for survivors as they navigate the difficult and complex healing process,” he said.
The Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton said these measures were not the Government’s final response and more work needed to be done.
“Increasing resources will allow us to clear the backlog and help those individuals who were in state care seek some healing for the lifelong impacts they’ve had to ensure,” Ms Upton said.
Chief executive of the support and advocacy group Care Leavers Australia Network Leonie Sheedy said the measures showed the Government has listened.
“Better and faster access to their records will help survivors of child sexual abuse understand who they are, where they are from and reconnect with family they may not have known they had,” Ms Sheedy said.
The founder of Parragirls, a support network for former Parramatta Girls, Bonny Djuric, said the NSW Government’s interim response had provided hope to survivors.
“The NSW Government has evidently listened to and heard the pain and suffering experienced by survivors of the Parramatta Girls Home in testimonies given at the Royal Commission,” Ms Djuric said.
The royal commission’s final report is due in December 2017.