ABC ONLINE NEWS: Article on Ballarat Royal Commission

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Child sex abuse royal commission hearings tipped to inspire more Ballarat victims to come forward

Posted Tue at 11:43am

Child abuse
The Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault is expecting public hearings into child sexual abuse will inspire more victims and survivors to come forward.

The support agency will be providing extra services during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings, which have been scheduled to begin from May 19.

The centre’s manager, Shireen Gunn, is expecting more survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward as a result of the Commission’s visit.

“It has been a bit of a snowball effect of people coming forward and then hearing about others and feeling okay to come forward themselves,” she said.

Ms Gunn said while many survivors were looking forward to the chance to give evidence, the opportunity to speak out had made some victims feel anxious.

She said the commission’s visit would have a toll on all victims of child sexual abuse and their families.

“Over the next few weeks there will be a very strong spotlight and they can certainly access one of our counsellors and talk about what’s happened for them,” she said.

Convicted paedophile priests who abused children in Ballarat’s Catholic diocese were also expected to testify at the hearings, which begin next Tuesday.