October has seen some big changes, particularly for those of us located in Victoria. While we’re welcoming the easing of restrictions, the IGFF team will continue to work from home for the immediate future.
We appreciate that a large portion of the Victorian – and Australian – community are feeling cautious about the lifting of lockdown restrictions. For clients, we understand that there may be benefits to some therapeutic or legal appointments resuming face to face. Where this may be an option, we can talk with you about what this involves, and help advocate for options that will suit, such as being able to choose between online, phone meetings or in person.
As we wait to see how things go, we are still excited to feel restrictions ease. If you want to talk about what this means for yourself or our services, you can get in touch with us on (03) 9940 1533 and leave a voicemail for us to reply to, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Similarly, if you have any questions about the contents of this newsletter – from updates to the National Redress Scheme to recent news updates – please do not hesitate to get in touch. We can also talk about other ways our Case Work team may be able to provide support and advocacy.
The IGFF team was grateful to recently receive the following feedback from a professional colleague:
Updates and Feedback to the Redress Scheme
Following our submission to the Second Anniversary Review of the National Redress Scheme last month, this month IGFF provided further verbal feedback to the Independent Reviewer, and has also been invited to provide a submission to the Joint Select Committee looking into the Scheme.
With a number of bodies looking into the Scheme, we are hoping that this feedback and insight will make way for further change.
One key recent development in response to feedback processes has been the drafting of the Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Amendment Bill 2020. This bill aims to deliver better outcomes and processes for Survivors engaging with the Scheme, and we believe that it could lead to some important improvements.
We have, however, provided feedback on key aspects of these amendments that will require strict care in implementation. Our submission to the Inquiry into the National Redress Scheme around this development can be found as Submission 3 on the parliamentary portal.
Last month, we also received the following feedback from a client on the importance of support during the Redress process:
Feedback Survey Deadline Extended
The Independent Review of the Redress Scheme have extended their deadline for Survivors and advocates, family members and support people to provide feedback via the feedback study.
The questions will now be open until 11 November 2020 and can be completed totally anonymously from home. If you want to talk about what this means, or need a physical copy of the survey sent to you, please do get in touch with the IGFF team.
In Recent News…
Abuse in Sport in Australia
This month, our CEO Clare Leaney published an op-ed in The New Daily about our national response to abuse in sport. As she writes, we must be honest, vigilant and fearless when it comes to the reporting of abuse. You can read the full article online here.
To every single coach, parent, administrator and supporter of junior sport, I say this: If you suspect abuse is occurring, speak up and act – because you might just know a child that needs your voice now more than ever.
News from the Vatican
IGFF also provided comment to the Australian Financial Review on the ongoing investigations around George Pell and the Vatican, which can be read online here.
As we made clear in the article, it is never okay for Survivors to be used as political weapons. What faith can Survivors have in the Church’s commitment to justice and the rule of law, if this is how their most senior cardinals act?
Jehovah’s Witness Accountability
In Australia, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of a handful of organisations completely refusing to sign onto the National Redress Scheme. We support calls from Survivors for the Australian government to hold the organisation accountable.
This article discusses concerns around the organisation, redress, and the experiences of Survivors. As Lara Kaput is quoted saying:
The Jehovah’s Witness Survivors are waiting in the wings, they’re terrified, they’re broken, they’re hoping the government will see them this time and do something about it.
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia has been running a crucial campaign to make it safe and confidential for people with disability to give testimony to the Disability Royal Commission.
As with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it is crucial that people can tell their stories in safety. People with disability are being asked to tell personal stories of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation without a complete guarantee that perpetrators will never have access to the information being given.
While the Attorney-General has confirmed the Government will draft legislation addressing this issue, it is not going to be brought to Parliament until Autumn next year, when change is urgently needed now.
For more information about the campaign, you can follow People with Disability Australia’s updates, see people tell their stories at the #MakeItSafeToSpeak hashtag on social media, and sign the open letter here.
If you have any more questions about what we’ve been up to, how we can support Survivors, or any of our services, you can leave a message for us to call back at (03) 9940 1533 or email email@example.com.
IGFF is committed to achieving justice for Survivors of institutional abuse. We acknowledge the strength, courage and sacrifices of all on the journey to recovery.
IGFF would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.