The National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse has formed and met for the first time. The Centre is committed to ensuring the voices of survivors and others with lived and living experience are at the heart of its mission.
The National Centre established by Blue Knot Foundation, The Healing Foundation and Australian Childhood Foundation is setting up three Colleges: a Survivor-led Adult College, a First Nations College and a Children and Young People College.
The Colleges foster opportunities for survivors to provide input and feedback on the National Centre’s strategic directions and share knowledge with and from their communities about what actions need to be taken.
The Survivor-led Adult College met on two consecutive days to provide feedback on the mission, vision and strategy of the National Centre and discuss paths forward towards a future where children and survivors of child sexual abuse are safe, supported and heard.
Members were unanimous in stressing that child sexual abuse is a national crisis requiring urgent action and expressed their passion and commitment to help drive the movement for change. The importance of the collective expertise of survivors was highlighted, with members expressing their deep commitment to coming together, building upon the leading work of the Royal Commission, and seeking transformational change.
The meetings articulated the ongoing engagement, collaboration and innovative work needed, including the vital importance of bringing the issue of child sexual abuse to the forefront of national conversation. Members committed to “making visible the invisible” and leveraging each individual’s experiences and perspectives to overcome the challenges and realise the opportunities they present.
Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of the Blue Knot Foundation, Deputy Chair of the National Centre and co-Chair of the Survivor-led Adult College, reflected that this was the beginning of a critical process to drive change and ensure a different world for children and survivors.
“We absolutely need to create societal change so that children are safe, and so that anyone who has experienced child sexual abuse has access to the resources they need to help them heal,” said Dr Kezelman.
“It’s vital for agencies to respond in a way that’s trauma-informed, culturally safe and centred on the individual, which is a key part of the work of the National Centre.”