For Families and Friends of Victims (Or: I’m Not Ready Yet for That)

Anyone is entitled to present a submission to the Royal Commission. There is one aspect which has become apparent which needs some thought. That is, what if someone who is a victim does not want to talk about it, report it, or has not yet received help in dealing with the effects of the abuse, but friends and relatives want something done about the offending organisation?

It is both a sad and difficult question.

Whatever the motivations, no victim needs to talk before he or she is ready. This is taken for granted and needs no further discussion. Yet, something must be done to avoid the production of further victims. This is actually possible, fortunately. There is no requirement to give a victim’s name or the abuser’s name, and a person can still present a submission drawing attention to the offending organisation, even if it merely says that “organisation x should be investigated.”

There is a point to this in that the Royal Commission will tend to only investigate organisations which have been the subject of a significant number of complaints. Usually, there will be attention on organisations which have also had several of their members convicted in the courts. However, while it is almost impossible to get away with murder, it is fairly easy to get away with child sexual abuse for a host of reasons. So, the conviction rate may not reflect, accurately, the offending rate, for a particular organisation.

Friends and relatives may support the decision by a victim to not pursue his or her abuser, usually because the event would be too traumatic or the chances of a conviction may be too low. The friends and relatives will, nevertheless, remain angry at what has happened to their loved ones.

One common statement from victims has been that it is too late for them, but that they feel a little better if they know that saying something will perhaps help other people who may become victims in the future. This aspect of avoiding the production of further victims is why so many people have been outraged about the cover-ups which have occurred in the past.

Putting in a simple submission, drawing attention to a particular organisation, may go some way to alleviating a little of this sense of anger, and may even do a lot of good.

TOMORROW: The commissioners revisited

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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