Clergy sex abuse survivor calls for long-term help

A BALLARAT clergy sexual abuse survivor has called for ongoing compensation, rather than a lump sum payment, as part of any proposed redress scheme.

Andrew Collins and Peter Blenkiron have welcomed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s public hearing to be hosted in Ballarat in May. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Andrew Collins and Peter Blenkiron have welcomed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s public hearing to be hosted in Ballarat in May. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Survivor Andrew Collins said local victims statistically had higher rates of ongoing medical issues linked to their abuse, and not just restricted to mental health problems.

“Their whole standard of life has been compromised. Many of them have been stuck on the pension for years,” Mr Collins said.

He said provision also needed to be made for more private counselling sessions, not just through the already over-burdened public system.

“It’s nearly impossible to get appointments as it is.”

He also said the scope of family members eligible for counselling needed to be widened to include not just parents but partners, spouses and children.

“However, I have no problem with the proposed scheme being administered federally and all with caps (capped amounts) etc. – that’s absolutely fine.”

Mr Collins said the Ballarat Diocese had already been paying some victims’ expenses, including counselling and medication.

“But you can’t rely on the goodwill of a couple of institutions.”

Mr Collins said it was also “fantastic” news the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would hold a public hearing in Ballarat in May.

“They will see firsthand the impact on people’s lives and the ongoing impact on families, and the community need to be addressed as well.”

He said Ballarat was now being recognised as one of the worst places in Australia – if not globally – for clergy sex abuse.

“It’s a part of Ballarat’s shameful history that needs to be told. We need to embrace the past so we can move on as a community.

“We need to have an ongoing knowledge of our past so we keep it in people’s minds, so it never happens again.”

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