Wednesday, July 6, 2022

National Centre for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse to be driven by first-ever consortium

Blue Knot Foundation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation (The Healing Foundation), and the Australian Childhood Foundation are honoured to have been selected by the Federal Government to establish and drive the new National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

The National Centre – a result of key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – was formally announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Parliament today, on the third anniversary of the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.

Blue Knot Foundation, The Healing Foundation, and the Australian Childhood Foundation have united to form an Australian-first partnership that will commission critical research, raise community awareness, reduce stigma, and provide training to support improved responses to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse – and prevent it from occurring in the first place.

The Government has committed $22.5 million over five years to fund the operations of the National Centre.

The National Centre will give voice to the experiences of survivors of all ages, life stages and communities.

It will work in collaboration with major research institutions in Australia, representatives from state and commonwealth governments, service providers, schools, and law enforcement agencies.

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Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of Blue Knot Foundation, National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, said the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual was a watershed time for our country, as for the very first time, survivors of institutional child sexual abuse were listened to, heard, and believed.

“The National Centre will build on that work, generating trauma-informed, culturally-inclusive pathways to healing for all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, while preventing child sexual abuse before it occurs,” Dr Kezelman said.

“At Blue Knot, we could not be more delighted to drive the work of the National Centre with our partners, which is just so fundamental to the social fabric of our nation, our community, and the health of us all.”

Fiona Cornforth, CEO of The Healing Foundation, said the National Centre will be informed by the organisation’s work in the space, which allows it to be led by the knowledge, experiences, and wisdom of Stolen Generations survivors who have pioneered and led strengths-based approaches to get people out of places of distress and on healing pathways.

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“The National Centre will educate workforces and sectors and the Australian people to bring about a shared understanding of trauma-aware and healing-informed practice that centres the voices of survivors.

“We will continue to hold stories we are entrusted with to drive the change needed to prevent further harm.

“The Healing Foundation is humbled to be part of this important work,” Ms Cornforth said.

Dr Joe Tucci, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation and inaugural Chair of the Board of the National Centre, said the National Centre is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen the ways that the community understands and takes action to protect children and young people from sexual abuse.

“There is so much for us to learn about how to improve the way we support survivors of child sexual abuse,” Dr Tucci said.

“The trauma they carry needs to be recognised and validated in order for real healing to occur.

“The Australian Childhood Foundation is so proud to be working alongside our partner organisations to realise the vision of the Centre.”

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