Knox City Council has taken a firm stand in support of those who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse, by restricting access to Council funding and support for organisations that do not participate in the National Redress Scheme.
In a unanimous vote, Council resolved that any organisation named by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and not participating in the Scheme will be ineligible for Council grants and funding, as well as ineligible to access Council facilities, participate in community events or receive permit to distribute information on Council property.
Mayor Nicole Seymour said the decision was an important, actionable step Council could make to show its support for the Scheme, and for those who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
“Every person in our community has the right to feel safe, secure and respected. The Royal Commission showed that this basic standard has not been upheld in many groups and institutions, and that abuse continues to impact people’s lives and livelihoods to this day,” said Cr Seymour.
“There is nothing we can do to erase the horrors that were inflicted on children across the state and here in Knox. But we can take action to validate their experiences and demand more from our local organisations in a tangible way.”
“It is vital that we as Council not only stand in support of our fellow community members, but use our position of leadership to hold these groups accountable, ensure they do not receive our support to operate and express our position that not participating in the Scheme is not good enough.”
The National Redress Scheme was created in response to recommendations by the Royal Commission and aims to hold institutions accountable for the sexual abuse inflicted on thousands of children within orphanages, children’s homes, schools, churches and religious organisations, sports clubs, hospitals, foster care and other institutions.
Through the Scheme, people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse can apply for redress and access other support services.
Council’s decision follows the Australian Government’s announcement that organisations not participating in the Scheme will be ineligible to apply for Commonwealth funding.