Child abuse survivors protest government inaction

May 4, 2005

BRISBANE — Surrounded by placards stating "no child deserves abuse" and dolls with horror stories of abuse written on them, protesters gathered outside Queensland parliament on April 26 in a demonstration organised by Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse.

Protesters condemned the government's inaction in response to the high incidence of child abuse in state-run and church-run homes, orphanages and other institutions. One woman told of being locked in a room for 42 days as a child, and having her stomach ruptured. Other protesters also told horrific stories of physical and psychological abuse.

The protest demanded the bringing to justice of institution managers, priests and foster parents involved in abuse. They also called for compensation to victims, many of whom require lifetime counselling and other support services.

Demonstrators also called for law reform.

In recognition of the trauma and psychological fear that prevents abuse sufferers from speaking out quickly, almost all Australian states have raised the age limit until which child abuse claims can be made to 37. Queensland's age limit remains 21.

Paul Benedek

From Green Left Weekly, May 4, 2005.
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