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It's a year since the national apology to victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. While national apologies can acknowledge survivors, sorry is just the beginning. Access to healing is needed.
Our research shows a program that strengthens culture and connection for Aboriginal survivors can be more meaningful than mainstream counseling. We've shown it's a successful way to deliver cultural healing.
Survivors - Child - Abuse - Australia - Sessions
There are an estimated 60,000 survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia. Based on the private sessions held as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 15% of survivors are Aboriginal. That suggests an estimated 9,000 Aboriginal survivors.
This is likely an under estimation. Again from the Royal Commission, we know it takes survivors an average 24 years to disclose abuse. Some never do.
Aboriginal - Survivors - Counseling - Traumas - Experience
Not all Aboriginal survivors will seek counseling for past traumas. Many experience mainstream counseling as inappropriate or insufficient. That's partly because mainstream therapeutic services are not built on Aboriginal knowledge and do not address the unique experiences of multiple layers of traumas, disconnection, loss and grief for Aboriginal peoples.
Not only do Aboriginal survivors experience the trauma of institutional child sexual abuse, if they were part of the Stolen Generations, they also experience the cultural trauma from being forcibly removed from family as children because they were Aboriginal. These children were denied connection to community, country, spirituality, language and culture.
Landmark - Bringing - Home - Report - Children
The landmark Bringing them Home Report shows how children were often physically, emotionally and sexually abused by those supposed to take care of them in state institutions, missions, foster homes and other forms of "care."
The Stolen Generations were part of broader policies of "protection" and assimilation that began with invasion and colonization. It was characterized by destruction and denigration and included being displaced from land and forced onto missions.
Context - Impacts - Today
This context and its impacts today,...
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