Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Aboriginal Territorians who were abused encouraged to access support service

With the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses in Child Sexual Abuse due in Darwin in two weeks, Relationships Australia NT said it’s important Aboriginal Territorians aren’t forgotten.

The organisation says that many of the victims, survivors and people affected by institutional childhood abuse in the Territory are Aboriginal and Islander peoples.

“We have Indigenous advisors, cultural consultants and Aboriginal family workers who can, where appropriate, work with Aboriginal people who were abused in coming forward to give evidence,” Ms Morrison said.

“But we also want people to know that we are here for them whether or not they choose to share their story with the Commission.

“We can answer any questions about the process, be a friendly and supportive ear and also help those who want to tell their story.”

Relationships Australia NT was the only NT support service to be given Federal funding to support victims presenting at the Royal Commission.

Know More was funded to provide legal support across Australia, while the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Association (NAAJA) will provide community education in the Top End.

Relationships Australia NT is meeting and working with these agencies and others, including Aboriginal services to ensure the most culturally sensitive and appropriate response.

Ms Morrison said Relationship Australia NT’s services are free to victims, survivors and people affected by childhood institutional abuse.

“Our staff will be there for people before, during and after the Commission,” she said.

“On the Tiwi Islands alone, including Nguiu, Milikapiti and Pirlingimpi, we have a qualified counsellor and three Aboriginal staff who can talk with people.

“People who live more than 50Km away from where they are scheduled to share their experiences in a private sitting can also apply to the Commission to assist with their  travel and accommodation costs.”

The Royal Commission will be in Darwin on Tuesday 15 October as part of its national tour to hear from victims and survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse.

Territorians who want to present their story to the Commission are required to register their interest via www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au  but Ms Morrison said her staff can help people through this process.

To contact Relationships Australia NT for more information or support please visit www.nt.relationships.org.au or call 1300 364 277.

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