EditorialOpinion

With better support comes positive change

The last Monday of October is Blue Knot Day (BKD), established in 2012 by the Blue Knot Foundation (BKF), formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA). Blue Knot Day and the week that follows is dedicated to raising awareness and support for over five million Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse.

 

Statistics show that one in four Australian adults are survivors of childhood trauma alone. Many more are impacted by other forms of trauma in their adulthood. Finding the right support can be a difficult challenge in the journey to recovery. Better support is often synonymous with implementation of better practices to support survivors. With better support comes positive change.

South Sydney Uniting Church in Waterloo has a longstanding relationship with the BKF and its founder Dr Cathy Kezelman. On Sunday October 28 the congregation held a special service of worship, including time for grieving, confessing, affirming faith, beseeching and hoping. There was opportunity for participants to help lead prayers as well as space for silent prayer. As in previous years, a collection was taken in support of the BKF.

The work of Dr Kezelman, staff and volunteers is proof that childhood trauma can be resolved, that those who have experienced childhood trauma can recover. This good news comes by way of professional support, education and training, and advocacy for a public health response to the trauma of abuse.

The National Apology on Monday October 22 to victims of institutional child sexual abuse (violations, loss of dignity and neglect) by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition was delivered to a full chamber with many survivors and advocates looking on. Many others watched online or chose not to watch. For many it was incredibly tough to be there as the words of the apology acknowledged their pain, distress and anger.

Both leaders acknowledged that words are not enough and committed to continue to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission. The Prime Minister committed to establishing a National Centre of Excellence around child abuse and a national museum which will not only act as a memorial for victims but become “a place of truth and reconciliation”.

Speaking at Parliament House, Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer said: “For anyone who was abused in the care of the Uniting Church, in our churches, schools or agencies, I’d again like to apologise sincerely. I am truly sorry that we didn’t protect and care for you in accordance with our Christian values. Our Church has some important commitments to live up to. We have created a single national entity to deal with redress applications across the six synods and the Assembly of the Uniting Church and other agencies that have chosen to join the National Redress Scheme. Listening to children in our care and instilling in them the confidence to speak out and be taken seriously is a crucial principle of a child-safe organisation. The more children are empowered to participate in decisions affecting them, the safer they’ll be.”

 

If you are based in Sydney and working with trauma, traumatic material and/or people impacted by trauma, the BKF offers regular seminars. Trauma training can help health and community workers understand and implement best practice while working with survivors. Information is available on the BKF website: www.blueknot.org.au.

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