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Child abuse panel

Saturday, 7th June, 2014

By Craig Brealey

Aboriginal people in Broken Hill and district will have heard about a Royal Commission into child abuse but now the commission wants to hear from them.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse is sending a special team of its Aboriginal staff here this month to hold information sessions in Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Menindee and Wentworth-Dareton.

The “speaking and healing” sessions will be conducted by the team, called “Know More”, and Broken Hill’s own Warra Warra Legal Service.

“The panel will explain how it works and there will also be an opportunity for any victims to ‘meet and greet’ and, after the sessions, to talk about their experiences,” said Donna Kennedy, the manager of Warra Warra.

“It is a brilliant project and there will also be lots of information,” Ms Kennedy said.

“But most importantly, we will have the Royal Commission’s ‘Know More’ people out here so people can get to know where they can go to take the next step.

“By having them here, we can have that first ‘meet and greet’ and people might then feel comfortable and say ‘we can talk to their mob’.”

Anyone who wishes to report any instances of having been abused as a child may do so privately, after the forums, Ms Kennedy said.

Free legal advice will also be offered to anyone who wants to give information to the Royal Commission.

Since the start of the year the Commission has been holding public and private hearings around the nation about how complaints of child sex abuse have been dealt with by institutions including schools and churches.

But Ms Kennedy said the commission’s ‘Know More’ panel was also open to hearing complaints of abuse within Aboriginal missions, sports clubs and Aboriginal communities themselves.

In Broken Hill a session will be held at Liberty House on June 17.

This will be followed be a session at Ngangana Aboriginal Home Care Service in Wilcannia on June 19; the Community Hall in Menindee, June 24 and; the Coomealla Senior Citizens Hall, June 26.

All the sessions will be held between 9.30am and 3.30pm, and lunch will be provided.

More information is available from the Warra Warra Legal Service on 8087 6766. You may also call Warra Warra to register to attend the sessions.

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