Member organisations of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) met in Sydney on 26 November for round-table discussions on important issues relating to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The meeting was coordinated by Congress to discuss Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to the Royal Commission.
As a result of this meeting, some of Australia’s key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations have called on the Royal Commission for greater recognition of, and support for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ involvement in the Commission.
Congress, along with member organisations the National Stolen Generations Alliance, First Peoples Disability Network Australia, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum and Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), have urged Commissioners to recognise and acknowledge of our peoples and our history to ensure real change for the future of our children.
In a joint statement released last week, Congress and supporting organisations want to see positive, real and lasting change come out of the Royal Commission process.
‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people expect to see genuine, lasting and significant change as a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse,’ the statement said.
‘It is critical that this Royal Commission focus on changing the conditions that led to this abuse occurring and ensuring protection for children in the future.’
Concern has been raised over the absence of any specific mention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the traumatic history experienced by many of our children while in institutions.
‘The absence of specific mention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, or acknowledgement of the traumatic history of our Peoples’ involvement with institutions in the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference is a major concern.’
The Commission has been asked to not only listen to the stories and experience of our peoples, but to incorporate these contributions in the findings of the Commission.
‘It is essential that the Commissioners support our Peoples to tell their stories; listen to our people’s experiences; and ensure their recommendations reflect the issues and concerns we raise.’