20 November 2015
I am devastated by news reports of an alleged paedophile network, with links to trusted members of our community, operating in Newcastle.
This exposé makes it very clear how extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, it was for victims of sexual abuse to seek justice and access the support and protection they deserved.
When a child is abused, it is devastating and profound. It can leave a legacy of trauma and distrust of authority for successive generations.
The immense sense of betrayal felt by victims, their families and loved ones is impossible to quantify.
It is absolutely vital that the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse continues to be given the full support and resources required to shine a huge light on this issue.
The Royal Commission’s vital work is inquiring into the crimes of the past, and also making recommendations to ensure that the most vulnerable Australians are better protected against these crimes in the future.
The full force of the law should be delivered to anyone that has engaged in unlawful conduct.
I pay tribute to the courageous individuals who have come forward and shared their personal experience of untold trauma. I also commend the hard work and dedication of ABC Newcastle Journalists for raising the story publicly.
Any attempts to prevent information coming to light, or to intimidate or interfere with any individuals involved in this investigation are completely unacceptable.
I will always stand alongside those who speak out against injustice and who demand openness, honesty and transparency.
If this story raises issues or concerns you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the NSW Police on 1800 333 000.