Gruelling days to come, PM tells abuse survivors
Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets with child sex survivor Nicky Davis at Kirribilli House in Sydney. Photo: Mick Tsikas
THERE are traumatic times ahead for child sexual abuse victims as the royal commission swings into action, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.
But the inquiry's recommendations will hopefully bring healing to Australia as a nation, Ms Gillard told child sex abuse survivors on Saturday.
A day after she announced the appointments to the royal commission into child sexual abuse in institutions, Ms Gillard met about 30 child sexual abuse survivors and advocates at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Saturday.
''Yesterday's announcement is a tribute to you for having sustained that campaign after many, many long years,'' Ms Gillard told them.
''I can't promise you there are easy days ahead.
''I suspect there are some very traumatic days ahead as people come and tell what happened to them, many of them for the very first time.''
Child abuse victims had suffered many years of being ''shunned and spurned and having doors slammed in their face'', the Prime Minister said.
''It's your time now to tell your story,'' she said.
''The recommendations of the royal commission [will], I hope, bring some healing to individuals and to us as a nation.''
The royal commission was broadly welcomed by those at the morning tea.
Advocate Wayne Chamley told the Prime Minister: ''We want to thank you for your courage.''
Dr Chamley, of Broken Rites, said he was particularly pleased that Justice Peter McClellan had been appointed to head up the six-member commission.
''This is going to determine how we care for and protect and cherish our children in the future,'' he said.
John Hennessy, of the Child Migrants Trust, carried a photograph of his late British mother, May Mary Hennessy, who was told he was dead before he was shipped to a Christian Brothers institution in Western Australia.
''I think it vindicates everything we've been fighting for for 25 years,'' Mr Hennessy said of the royal commission.
The commissioners are expected to hold a telephone hook-up on Monday and their first face-to-face meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.
The commission is expected to provide an interim report by the end of June 2014 and will wind up in December 2015. AAP