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Albanese Government puts victim survivors at centre of response to child sex abuse

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

A new advisory group will meet in Brisbane today to ensure the voices of victims and survivors are at the centre of the Government's response to child sexual abuse.

The 20-member National Strategy Advisory Group of experts, including people with lived and living experience, service providers, peak bodies and academics, are meeting over the coming two days to help shape action on child sexual abuse by providing advice on the design, implementation, and evaluation of measures under the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse 2021-2030.

The national strategy is Australia's first strategic framework to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in all settings, and was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The members represent the experience of every national strategy priority group: victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and their advocates, children and young people and their support networks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with a disability, LGBTQIA+, and people living in regional and remote communities.  

By working with this group, we are ensuring the national strategy delivers support for the people who need it most and our children and young people are better protected.

The Gillard Government established the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which revealed the extent of these crimes in our community.

Australia's willingness to finally reckon with the horrific toll of child sexual abuse and neglect was only possible because of the tireless advocacy of victims, survivors and their families.

Child abuse thrives in the shadows, but by listening to the stories of others we can shine a light, and act to keep children safe.

For more information on the national approach to child sexual abuse visit the National Office for Child Safety website.

Support is available:

The members of the advisory group are:

  • Alison Quigley, Doctoral Candidate in Law and Advocate for victims and survivors in sports 
  • Amanda Morgan, Advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse  
  • Anna Gill, Regional Manager Solicitor (Southern Region) – North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
  • Bob Atkinson AO APM, Former Commissioner - Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • Bruce and Denise Morcombe OAM, Founders - Daniel Morcombe Foundation 
  • Catherine Liddle, Chief Executive Officer - SNAICC – National Voice for our Children
  • Christabel Chamarette, Deputy-Chair - SafeCare Inc  
  • Deborah Tsorbaris, Chief Executive Officer - The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
  • Hetty Johnston AM GAICD, Founder of Bravehearts & Child protection and safeguarding specialist
  • Kathryn Fordyce, Chief Executive Officer - Laurel House
  • Professor Leah Bromfield, Director - Australian Centre for Child Protection, UniSA
  • Louise Lamont, Chief Executive Officer - Phoenix Support and Advocacy Services Inc
  • Mary Karras, Chief Executive Officer - Ethnic Communities' Council NSW
  • Mary Sayers, Strategic Adviser - Children and Young People with Disability
  • Matilda Alexander, Chief Executive Officer - Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion
  • Miranda Bain, Director of Therapy Services - Act for Kids
  • Professor Patrick O'Leary, Chair of the Clinical Advisory Group, Survivors and Mates Support Network & Co-Lead of the Disrupting Violence Beacon, Griffith University
  • Phil Doorgachurn, Executive Manager - The Y
  • Shelley Keevers, Youth Ambassador and Advisor for The Create Foundation and Anglicare NSW West, NSW South, and the ACT
  • Sonya Ryan OAM, Founder and Chief Executive Officer - Carly Ryan Foundation

Along with the 20 members, Ms Anne Hollonds, the National Children's Commissioner, and Cathy Kezelman, Deputy Chair of the National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse, will act as specialist advisers to the advisory group.

The Government has also established the National Clinical Reference Group which will provide expert advice to governments on the design, implementation and evaluation of the measures relating to children with harmful sexual behaviours under the national strategy.

The members of the clinical reference group are:

  • Dr Joe Tucci, Chair of the Board, National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse and CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation
  • Amanda Paton, Deputy Director Practice, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia
  • Dale Tolliday, Senior Clinical Advisor, Children and Young People's Sexual Safety Program, Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, Sexual and Violent Behaviour, NSW Ministry of Health
  • Dr Danielle Harris, Deputy Director, Research, Griffith Youth Forensic Services, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University
  • Dr Deirdre Thompson, Director Therapeutic and Support Services, Bravehearts
  • Dr Gemma McKibbin, Research Fellow, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Graham Gee, Senior Research Fellow/Clinical Psychologist, Intergenerational Health, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
  • Jenny Wing, Chair of the Victorian Harmful Sexual Behaviour Network
  • Dr Kenny Kor, Lecturer, Social Work, School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong
  • Dr Lesley-Anne Ey, Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Education Futures, University of South Australia
  • Linda Valenta, Principal Therapist, Support Assessment & Intervention for Families (SAIFF)
  • Dr Russ Pratt, Forensic and Counselling Psychologist, Director, Prime Forensic Psychology
  • Associate Professor Scott Harden, Child, Adolescent and Adult Forensic Psychiatrist, Amicus Medical Chambers
  • Tim Hawes, Service Manager, Violence Abuse and Neglect, Hunter New England Local Health District
  • Toni Cash, Principal Advisor, Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, yourtown