House debates

Monday, 22 October 2018

Statements by Members

Parragirls, Survivors & Mates Support Network

4:39 pm

Photo of Julie OwensJulie Owens (Parramatta, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

Today the federal parliament apologised to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, some six years after the royal commission was called in 2012 by the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. For many, of course, it is decades late. I know I'll get a chance to speak more fully in this place in coming weeks, but today of all days I wanted to acknowledge two organisations in my electorate that have worked for years to bring about this beginning that we made today in the Australian parliament to bring redress to the victims of child institutional sexual abuse.

The first are known as the Parramatta Girls or Parragirls, the girls who were incarcerated in the Parramatta Girl's Home. They were mentally, physically and sexually abused while under state care in one of the worst institutions when it came to physical and sexual abuse. They have been coming together as the Memory Project since 2012 and Bonney Djuric in particular has been tireless in calling for a site of conscience in the location where that abuse took place.

The second is the Survivors and Mates Support Network, known as SAMSN, a not-for-profit organisation working to increase public awareness of the effects of childhood sexual abuse can have on men in their adult lives. They support adult male survivors of child sexual abuse and their families. In particular I would like to acknowledge Craig Hughes-Cashmore, a survivor himself and co-founder and director, who has worked incredibly hard to ensure that an apology took place and we began this new phase.