Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, President of the Blue Knot Foundation:
The outcome of George Pell’s appeal is poised to have a profound impact on survivors around the country.
His conviction represented belief in the victim and the power of the legal system to dispense justice regardless of who the alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse are. In this case the victim was believed and Pell, a powerful member of the Catholic Church hierarchy was convicted.
Each time this case or any other high-profile case is re-examined legally – rightly or wrongly, to victims it feels as though the credibility of survivors is on trial.
The release of George Pell on appeal would be very difficult for many survivors. This is because for some it will mean that regardless of the courage and determination of victims, legal process can intervene and lead to different outcomes.
Speaking out, being heard and being believed are bottom line for so many victims. For many the legal process has been too daunting to consider. For such a high-profile case to undergo so many twists and turns, all of which are of course part of due process, speaking out in the legal system can seem even more unachievable.