The National Centre is pleased to announce the release of its inaugural Annual Report 2023.
Founded in late 2021, as a key recommendation from the 2017 Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, the National Centre is a partnership between three respected organisations with strong histories of leadership in responding to child sexual abuse – Australian Childhood Foundation, Blue Knot Foundation and the Healing Foundation.
Since establishment, the National Centre has focused its efforts on setting a strong foundation to deliver on its vision to create a community where children are safe, and victims and survivors are supported to heal and recover, free from stigma and shame – a future without child sexual abuse.
Over the past year, achievements and highlights at the National Centre include:
- Building a robust and comprehensive governance structure that draws in expertise across the sectors and across the country
- Establishing the Survivor-led and First Nations Colleges to guide and inform the direction and work at all levels
- Finalising and publishing Here for Change – Our Five-Year Strategy
- Commissioning $2.99M in research grants to build the evidence base on the subject of child sexual abuse and its responses across Australia
- Creating a strong visual brand identity using co-design and human-centred design principles
- Launching the “In Conversation” webinar series to explore critical issues related to child sexual abuse, prompt public awareness and action.
Reflecting on the critical input provided by those with lived experience, Survivor-led Adult College member Frank Golding said:
“All too often survivors’ testimony and experience has been appropriated and voiced by ‘expert’ researchers and commentators. Older survivors, especially, often find their experience of child sexual abuse described as historical, as if ‘getting over it’ is just a matter of time. I am pleased to have been able to add my voice to others in the formative stage of the National Centre as it affirms the proposition that lived experience is also living experience. The National Centre has listened intently to its experts by experience. We carry the power of history within us to help the National Centre interpret what it meant to be silent and powerless – and how best to confront the challenges the National Centre faces.”
Looking ahead, National Centre CEO Dr Leanne Beagley reiterates, however, that real and lasting change will take an ‘all of society’ approach
“We know from the recent Australian Childhood Maltreatment Study (ACMS) that one in three women and one in five men in Australia have suffered childhood sexual abuse and that it can take more than 23 years for survivors to disclose. Further, the rates among young adults are no different to older Australians, meaning rates are not declining, despite the ongoing efforts of specialised taskforces, tighter prevention approaches, dedicated police units, and child protection agencies.”
“Ending the horrific rates of abuse will take community vigilance and strong commitment from government and leaders across all sectors. It will take deeper understanding and evidence around what the drivers of child sexual abuse are, and how to interrupt its trajectories. Most importantly, it will take genuine listening to the experiences of those who live with the impact of child sexual abuse so that we don’t repeat past mistakes. These experiences may be hard to hear, but we cannot look away.”