At 11am on Monday 22 October, the staff of MacKillop Family Services stopped to witness the National Apology to victims of Child Sexual Abuse, and to respect and honour the courage of victims and survivors.
The Apology provides an important opportunity to acknowledge the historical failures of Australian governments and institutions to keep children safe and to express our deep sorrow for the harm caused to victims and survivors of abuse. It is also a time to pay tribute to the courage of more than 8,000 survivors who shared their story at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and to renew our commitment as a nation to never let this happen again.
We welcomed former residents of our predecessor organisations to view the Apology with our staff. Following the Apology, all attendees were invited to add a ribbon to our Loud Fence – a symbolic act to show we stand in solidarity with all those affected by child sexual abuse, and a visible reminder that their suffering continues.
In his apology, the Prime Minister asked, “Why weren’t the children of our nation loved, nurtured and protected? Why were other things more important than the care of innocent children?”
At MacKillop Family Services, we believe nothing is more important than child safety. It is a fundamental right of every Australian child, and our belief in the value of each child in our care and their entitlement to exercise this right underpins every decision we make.
The Leader of the Opposition noted in his response that, “History will judge our words today.”
We commit to do everything we can to ensure history will show that we have acted with integrity and left no stone unturned to protect and nurture the children in our care.
We have never been presented with a better set of solutions than those contained in the 409 recommendations of the Royal Commission and we are committed to working with governments, institutions, and the community to implement these recommendations.
We join the nation in saying sorry for the appalling abuse endured by thousands of innocent children, and the failure to believe those who were brave enough to speak up. And we commit to never letting this happen again.